Skate park fundraising building steam

With plans to see work on the proposed skate park begin here next month, the Kiwanis skate park committee is looking to intensify its fundraising for the project.
As first reported in yesterday’s Daily Bulletin, organizers have scaled down the skate park plans from more than 14,000 sq. ft to 9,600 sq. ft., bringing the estimated cost of the components down into the $120,000 range from about $180,000.
“It’s a lot more affordable,” committee chair Rob Tovey said at a meeting Monday night at the Memorial Sports Centre.
Rod McLeod, who has been helping Tovey spearhead the skate park campaign, noted the committee has about $85,000 in “hard cash” right now, with more money expected to come in from the brick campaign.
This means the committee still has to raise as much as it can—at least $30,000—over the next couple of months.
Things will get off to a running start tomorrow through Saturday, when committee members will be selling hotdogs and pop at the Northern Do-it center for a suggested donation of $2.
Volunteers will be there Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m., and then again from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday.
The skate park committee also has landed a lottery licence and will be selling 60/40 raffle tickets in the very near future. These cost $5 each, and will be drawn June 25 at the Fort Frances Museum (to coincide with the 100th birthday celebration of Scott Street).
Tickets will be available from committee members, as well as during fundraising events the group plans to hold in the months prior to the draw date.
For instance, they plan to be selling them at Wal-Mart on Fridays and Saturdays next month.
They also will be sold during a two-night door-to-door blitz around town either in May or June, which the committee hopes to publicize beforehand so residents will be expecting to hear a knock at their door.
Committee members also have been promoting the brick campaign to local businesses and individuals. The public is welcome to check out what the bricks look like at a display put up last month at A Buck or Two (209 Scott St.)
Bricks cost $100 each, and will be installed at the skate park with an individual, family, or company name on it.
Looking further down the road, Tovey noted 92.3 FM (“The Wolf”) has talked to him about lining up a July 1 concert to raise funds for the skate park.
This would feature either local bands, some from elsewhere in Canada, or a mix.
Tovey added he’s also talked to “Fun in the Sun” committee chair Paul Bock, who is in agreement with such an idea.
And since news of the skate park has been in the Times over the past few months, a number of individuals have made donations to the project.
Anyone wanting to make a donation to the skate park project, or give input, can call Tovey at 274-6113.
Scaled-down plans
As mentioned above, the newest plans have the skate park measuring 80’x120’ (or 9,600 sq. ft.).
Before the re-design, which wasdone over the weekend with the help of designer Andrew Kondrat of Winnipeg-based Barkman Concrete Ltd., the plans detailed a skate park covering well over 14,000 sq. ft.
That size, in turn, was modified from the original plans from several years ago, which featured a concrete bowl and slab measuring closer to 16,000 sq. ft.
“We’re trying to be realistic in our approach,” said Tovey, adding the scaled-down park still contains many of the same components (ramps, rails, stairs, etc.) as the previous design.
“We looked at every other town with skate parks or building skate parks—Kenora, Dryden, Thunder Bay, Baudette—and ours still will be bigger,” he added.
McLeod noted the reality of how large a 9,600 sq. ft. park would be sunk in when he found out a large skate park he had been admiring in Winnipeg was only 6,000 sq. ft. in size.
Committee member Duane Cridland added the area of the Memorial Sports Centre parking lot currently used by skateboarders only amounts to around 300 sq. ft.
The skate park committee met Monday evening to update its members of the changes and a majority approved the revised plans.
The committee now has to confirm a price for a scaled-down version of the park with the contractor and sign a deal.
An order then will be placed for the concrete components (ramps, stairs, and other structures), which would take about six weeks to make and then be shipped here for installation.
In the meantime, a local contractor would be hired to lay down a concrete base at the site.
This could take between four and five weeks, and could start as soon as mid-May, said Tovey.
Once the modular components arrive here, they can be installed in about two weeks.
If the components are ordered by the start of May, the park potentially could be completed in July.
“The sooner we can put in an order, the sooner we can get the pieces, the sooner we can get this built,” said Tovey.
“We should be skating by the 15th of July,” added Cridland.
Before starting any of the ground work, though, the committee also has to sign a site plan agreement with the town, which may happen at the May 2 council meeting.
Tovey noted the town will be doing the grading for the park, as well the drainage. Public Works already has surveyed the site and staked out the 9,600 sq. ft. area on the north side of the arena