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Planning begins for skate park

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The drive to build a skate park here by next summer is moving full-speed ahead as multiple committees were struck up at the project’s second meeting Tuesday night.

“The response has been overwhelming. We had kids come out that want to be involved in the organizing of things, and about 20 parents do the actual committee work,” said Steve Maki of the local Kiwanis Club, who is spearheading the endeavour.

“Several people have contacted me who couldn’t make it to that meeting, and there’s other people who want to get involved not necessarily with the organizing, but with the hands-on stuff,” he added.

“I think it’s really coming along. The community is on board, and that’s what important—it is a community project. The Kiwanis is just responsible for getting it going,” he stressed.

Maki noted three of the four committees will focus on publicity, fundraising, and youth projects.

The fourth one, for lack of a better term, will “scrounge” for materials from local business and individuals that could cut the total cost of building the skate park, which is expected to end up being a 1,200 sq. ft. concrete park—which resembles a bowl-like, empty swimming pool—on a site near the Memorial Sports Centre.

Gord McQuarrie, owner of Skates & Blades here, is heading up the youth committee, which consists of adults to help local skateboarders co-ordinate their fundraising.

One goal of that committee is to have a “board-a-thon” in mid-November, McQuarrie noted Thursday morning.

“The idea is we’d have skateboarders doing laps around the upper part of the old rink [’52 Canadians Arena]. The kids at the schools would get pledges,” he explained.

“It’s not inconceivable they could raise $30,000-50,000,” said Maki. “It’s good that they can do this fundraising, to feel instrumental in this, which they are.

“They don’t have to sit back and wait for us adults to do everything,” he remarked. The top pledge-getters then would be awarded with prizes, although McQuarrie noted the details on this still are being sorted.

While the new committees will be meeting individually over the next week, the next general meeting of the skate park is slated Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Memorial Sports Centre.

In related news, Jim Barnum, a former competitive skateboarder and now a skate park designer in British Columbia, will be visiting Fort Frances next Saturday (Nov. 9).

“He’s phenomenal. He’s 110 percent skateboarding,” enthused Maki. “I want to have every skateboarder in Fort Frances to come out and meet him.”

The exact time and location for Barnum’s meetings, with both the skate park committees and youths, will be announced shortly.

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