New skatepark gets $125,000 grant
A recent grant of $125,000 from the province’s Community Facilities Enhancement Program (CFEP) has put a new skatepark on the horizon.
The project has been planning and fundraising for the project for several years. It would replace the town’s existing skatepark located behind the Jasper Junior/Senior High School. That facility was originally installed in 2003.
“We're at the end now. We're on the homestretch,” said Darrell Savage, spokesperson for the Jasper Skateboard Committee.
You can’t discount the value that having such a place means to the people who use them. Savage said that he has been going to the skatepark since it opened when he was still a kid. The space has proven to be a very popular attraction, but it’s more than just that.
“It's like a community inside of a community,” he said, commenting on how important an amenity like this is for any town but especially for a mountain tourist town.
“I think a lot of the parents in town, that's why so many of them are on board: it’s because they realize how valuable it is when you have kids. You want them to get off the phones and video games, and you want them to get outside and do stuff. This is such a positive thing.”
While municipal council still has to vote to approve the exact location for the new skatepark, all eyes are on Diamond A in Centennial Park as the preferred spot.
If that indeed works out to plan, the new skatepark will be an all-round improvement over the current skatepark, complete with landscaping features to make it more appealing to the community in general.
“On the new location, we have more room. They were able to come up with a nicer, bigger design, with more features and everything. We’ve really got the best of both worlds,” Savage said.
This funding comes on the heels of two other grants that the committee has received. Those grants have a timeline of construction by 2024, however, which means that the clock is now ticking.
First, the committee needs to get an updated quote for the work. The first quote was done a few years ago, and the cost of concrete is expected to be the major source for any cost increase.
Savage said that his preliminary estimate is that there would still be a six-figure shortfall. That means that there will still be fundraising, but the committee has no firm plans for such at the moment. Municipal council did earmark up to $300,000 for the skatepark project two years ago, conditional on the committee receiving matching funds.
That puts the committee in the perfect position to move forward.
“We’re definitely happy to be where we're at. We can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel now.”
Savage did say that anyone who wanted to help out could get in contact with the committee via email to email@example.com or by connecting to them either through Facebook or the group’s YouTube channel.
The Jasper Skatepark Committee expects to provide an update to municipal council on April 18.
Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh