Skate park group hopes for town deal

Still facing a $120,000 tab by the beginning of April for the balance of the cost of the new Kiwanis skate park, committee chair Rob Tovey is confident it won’t be a problem.
“Right now, we’re waiting for the town to come back with some form of agreement—it should be very soon—that will enable us to pay off all the contractors,” Tovey said last week.
“It looks like we’re on schedule with that,” he added. “At this stage, we just have to formalize it and see what kind of conditions there are. But I’m sure it will work out fine.
“It’s now just about working out all the details. I’m very positive about it.”
Back In January, the town’s Administration and Finance executive committee made three recommendations in response to the skate park committee’s request for a capital contribution of $75,000 and bridge financing of $50,000 repayable over five years at zero percent interest.
The first was to honour a $25,000 donation to the skate park the previous council had made while the second was to sit down with the skate park committee and review what has gone on so far, and come up with “an amicable solution to the problem.”
The executive committee also recommended the town, pending further consultation, would be willing to assist the skate park committee with landscaping this spring or summer.
< *c>Fundraising continues
Of course, assuming a financing deal is put in place, the skate park committee will have to keep working hard to raise funds and pay the town back.
“Realistically, we need to raise $35,000 every year. If we can do that, we’re going to be fine. I think it’s very attainable,” said Tovey.
After participating in the annual “Polar Plunge” here on New Year’s Day, the
committee now is planning to hold a dinner, social, and silent auction featuring local entertainment sometime next month.
“That’s going to be our starting point for our fundraising this year,” said Tovey.
Then in May, organizers are hoping to hold a skateboarding competition—the inaugural “Fort Frances Skateboard Open”—at the new park, involving judges such as pro skateboarder and skate park designer Andrew Kondrat of Barkman Concrete.
Tovey said the committee is hoping the competition draws youths from across the region. It will feature different age categories—and trophies for the winners.
Skateboarders will pay an entry fee of $40 or $50, which, in turn, will go towards paying off the park.
Tovey said this will be the first of many such events to be organized using the facility itself to generate revenue—first to pay off the bill, then to cover any upkeep.
And then on July 1, the committee is hoping to organize a concert with proceeds to go to the skate park. Details on this still are in the early stages.
“We have to start organizing these things in the next little while. Summer’s coming and you want to have a bunch of things planned for it,” noted Tovey. “That’s our best window for fundraising.
“Things are going very positively. I’m looking forward to the summer,” he added. “That park’s going to get a lot of use.”
In the meantime, Tovey said committee members have continued to push the “Brick the Park” campaign to local individuals and businesses throughout the winter.
Bricks cost $100 each and will be installed to form a patio surrounding the skate park, with individual, family, or company names on each brick (or set of bricks).
While brick sales have been a bit slow since snow covered the ground, Tovey expects they’ll pick up this spring once skateboarders start using the park again.
“We’re getting a few a month,” he noted. “We’re going to pick that up again in the spring. It’s an ongoing part of our fundraising program.
“There’s still a lot of businesses that said they’d be contributing that haven’t yet,” Tovey added.
The brick patio is expected to be built this summer.
Anyone wanting to buy bricks, or simply make a donation, can drop by Skates & Blades (648 Scott St.), or call Tovey (274-6113), Patsy Roy (274-4244), Keith Knapp (274-7447), or Duane Cridland (274-7716).