More money is needed to finish skate park

Phase one of the much-anticipated Kiwanis skate park here is now complete, and organizers and skateboarders alike are eager to see crews get started on the second and final stage of construction.
The only problem is the park’s planning committee doesn’t have the cash to fund the second half of the project just yet.
“Basically, we’ve finished phase one but, at this point, our money has run out so we’ve stopped,” Rob Tovey, who chairs the skate park committee, said Monday.
Tovey said an additional $75,000 will need to be raised before the group can move forward on the 9,600 sq. ft. facility, which is located on the north side of the Memorial Sports Centre.
About $115,000 already has been raised, including a $20,000 deposit placed on the components (stairs, ramps, rails, etc.) that eventually will make up the park.
The organizing committee knew another fundraising effort would be required after the first phase was completed, but it didn’t help that the initial cost projections were way off, Tovey said.
Planners originally budgeted for the installation of a six-inch concrete slab, which would have cost about $47,000.
But concerns about the harsh winter conditions here, along with Ontario’s stringent safety specifications, prompted organizers to instead choose to lay a slab with 16-inch club footings at each corner and an eight-inch base.
Adding to the cost of the slab, workers also left two-inch indentations where the components will be placed (original plans called for a flat base) and laid nearly five miles of rebar.
“We’ve gone from one extreme to another,” noted Tovey, adding the park easily will exceed all safety specifications.
Still, the extra work more than doubled the cost of the project’s first phase—leaving the organizing committee with a bill for about $100,000.
“That hurt us a lot,” Tovey admitted.
To raise the money necessary to finish the second phase of the project, which has been in the works for about three years, the skate park committee recently launched a new fundraising initiative, dubbed the “Brick the Park” campaign.
Essentially, the group is selling bricks that will bear the name of the individual, family, or business that makes the donation and eventually will be installed at the skate park site.
At $100 apiece, project organizers will have to sell a lot of bricks to meet their fundraising goals, but Tovey isn’t feeling daunted.
“You gotta be optimistic, you can’t be pessimistic in fundraising,” he remarked. “We’re hoping that in the next couple of weeks, we can really make progress to raise some of this money.”
If the funding drive does go well, Tovey said there still is a chance local skateboarders could be testing the new facility before the snow flies.
“We just want to put all the components on so the kids can start using it as soon as possible,” he said. “We want it all completed this summer, in time for the kids to use it for even a month or two.”
When construction got underway in mid-June, the skate park project was slated to be completed by the end of last month.
But Tovey said although things are a bit behind schedule, the fact the project is finally off the ground is very encouraging.
“Nobody in this town, if you go back six months, would’ve believed there would ever be a skateboard park,” Tovey said. “Now, people are believing it’s going to happen.
“We had to create some excitement to raise some money.”
For more information on the “Brick the Park” campaign, or to purchase a brick, contact Tovey (274-6113), Chris McKinnon (274-6180), or Patsy Roy (274-4244).

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