Amherstburg's skate park will soon be fixed up, freshly painted by the kids who use it and laid out on a pad of smooth, new asphalt on the west side of the community hub at 320 Richmond Street.
Council voted last night to temporarily locate the skate park there until the community can have a more informed discussion about a permanent home as we review multiple concept plans for Jack Purdie Park and the north end of Centennial Park. Administration has already identified the Libro Centre as the optimal permanent location for a skate park, but some skate park users and their parents believe that location is too far from the Town’s core.
Unless Town staff moves mountains and things break just right over the next few days, it is unlikely the skate park will be operational before June 21, which means we won’t have honoured the commitment made to kids to have the skate park up and running in the spring. That is unfortunate and I would like to apologize to the skate and scooter kids for the delay.
It’s been a long and isolating lockdown and I know you are keen to get back out there and tired of having your parents drive you to skate parks in other municipalities. The Town has a great team under a passionate new Parks boss who did some amazing things in Windsor and they are working as fast and diligently as they can to set up the park in its new location.
It’s my belief this delay will be but a blip as we work to improve recreational opportunities for Amherstburg youth and replace the amenities displaced by the sale of the southern portion of Centennial Park to the school board.
In particular, I’m excited about the potential for a new BMX pump track! We have all the dirt we need just sitting at the Libro waiting to be sculpted into a cool track that can entertain kids of all ages and all skill levels using everything from bikes to blades. A new one in Windsor is so popular that kids were sneaking onto it before the grand opening!
A smooth, new layer of asphalt will soon be installed outside the community hub, which is home to the House Youth Centre, and repairs to the skateboard ramps are almost complete. Town staff wants to put some fresh paint on the refurbished equipment and is asking skate and scooter kids to give them a hand. Anyone interested in helping paint the ramps can sign up using this online form.
The skate park and the rest of the recreational amenities in Centennial Park, including the pool and a portion of the track and field complex, were displaced to make way for the new high school. As to where the permanent location of the skate park should be, the Parks Master Plan says this: “Youth may be limited by their independent mobility, so the skateboard park should be re-located in close proximity to the proposed new high school or near complementary amenities. It is recommended that the Town undertake a site evaluation exercise to determine a preferred location.”
Factors that should be considered when choosing a location, according to the Parks Master Plan, include:
“Context: Provide large buffer from neighbouring properties and enough room to add the facility without displacing or crowding other users/facilities. Ensure parking is available as the facility will have a community-wide service area (subject to cost and availability of appropriate land).
Compatibility: Adjacent to complementary uses such as community centres, parks, etc. Should also be in close proximity to residential areas and schools/urban core. Potential skate park sites should be easily accessed by trails or sidewalks.
Safety & Visibility: High visibility to protect the users and allow neighbours, police, and staff to monitor activity at the facility at all hours. Security lighting is encouraged to ensure desirability, safety, and security.
Amenities: Access to washrooms, shade, and water fountains for users are required. Signage should indicate site rules, risks, emergency contact location and address.”