Location? Check. Council approval? Check. Funding? That’s what Skate Elmira, the youth-led initiative to bring a skate park to Woolwich, still needs to cross off its list.
With Woolwich council giving the go-ahead to their plan to build the township’s first multi-use skate park in Elmira’s Bristow Park, the group is now preparing to launch a campaign to raise $500,000 by spring 2014.
You may have seen their donation jar at the Robin’s Nest, but Skate Elmira’s June 22 skateboard competition and barbeque will mark the formal launch of the group’s fundraising phase. Hosted in partnership with the Woolwich Kin Club and Emmanuel Evangelical Missionary Church, the event represents the beginning of a long road that the group hopes will lead to community engagement and corporate sponsorship.
“Our challenge is just raising money and getting people to be not only supportive of the idea, but also financially supportive. Otherwise it can’t happen,” said Zack Barriage, in charge of public relations for the group. “We’re looking for monetary donations, but also in-kind donations – if anybody has in-kind help they can give, that’s a huge thing we’re looking for.”
Though Skate Elmira has held public consultations and become a fixture at local events, the June 22 launch will give the group its biggest opportunity yet to familiarize the community with its plans. In addition to the skate competition, graffiti artists, local music, bouncy castles, and raffles, the event will have a table where visitors can view the tentative design for the facility.
“The purpose of it is basically to create awareness of the skateboard park that’s going to be built,” said Christine Padaric, the group’s new overseer. “It’s an opportunity to get families onboard with the idea of having a skateboard park coming to town.”
Padaric, who is taking over from Robin Hansford, has been active in several skateboard-related initiatives in honour of her son Austin, who died in April of a drug overdose. (Notably, she has supported a student initiative to name the Wellesley skate park “the AMP,” after her son’s initials).
“I told them coming into this: it’s my son who died of a drug overdose, and the reason I’m running this committee is because I wish that the park had been in place, because maybe my son would have been there instead of in that apartment doing drugs,” said Padaric.
Barriage added, “The idea of the skate park is to give kids a good spot, a positive place to go, instead of dabbling in things that may not turn out so well.”
The event begins on June 22 at 11 a.m. at Emmanuel EMC (2 First St. W.) and Bristow Park. Skateboarders can register for the competition at www.skateelmira.com.