The St. Paul BMX & Skatepark Initiative received some incredible news on Monday during the regular Town Council meeting. The group, who is raising money to build a state-of-the-art skatepark, was promised $30,000 from the Town to help build the structure. Head of the Initiative, Daniel Reid, says the group has great momentum to achieve their goal of $250,000 to build the park.
The group has been lobbying local organizations in the community, the Lions, Elks, the County of St. Paul, and the feedback they received was, “what is the Town contributing?” explains Reid, who realized he had to get a commitment from the Town to help secure funding from these other groups. “They all said, ‘yes, we want to help you guys, but we want to know what the Town is willing to commit.’ So we brought that back to the Town. So the Town passed a motion to commit $30,000 from next year’s budget to our initiative.”
“That brings us close to $50,000 in the kitty, our goal is to raise $250,000 because then we’ll go for grants for the rest. The total cost is $500,000.” Reid says there’s other factors that can help make up the money, such as gifts-in-kind. “Typically, one-third of those costs would be gifts-in-kind. Businesses donating equipment, machinery and time.” One of those gifts-in-kind is the land, explains Reid, “the Town has agreed to donate the land if the community chooses land that [the Town] owns, the Town is on board to donate it.” One of the possible locations Reid has been looking into is Legacy Park; however nothing has been decided. The group has intentions to talk to the school boards, as there are key central pieces of land owned by them too. “We have the commitment from the Town to maintain the park, as part of the Recreation Department.”
Reid says it was a personal tragedy that spearheaded the Initiative, “my younger brother, who’s a year younger than me, he took his own life in 2013. That made me want to do more for the kids in our community, in regards to mental health.When you’re at an adolescent age, you’re in high school, you have problems, something that’s bugging you, you need to know there’s somewhere you can go to get your mind off it.” Reid explains the skatepark is an important recreational facility that is often used as an outlet for kids and teens. “It’s good for the kids to have a recreational facility that’s not team-oriented. Sometimes, they just need to be alone, doing their own thing. It’s more of an individual sport, they keep progressing, learning new tricks, and it keeps their minds busy; less idle.” There is also the cost factor, “a skateboard costs $100. If you have the facility, you can use it.”
The current skatepark in between the Rec Centre and the swimming pool has become outdated and outgrown, explains Reid. “You can only progress so far, you can’t do advanced tricks. By building an advanced facility, we’re going to enhance the community. It’ll be something [the kids] are proud of and they’ll take care of it and police it.” Skateboarding and BMX really becomes a community, where the kids help each other and watch out for one another, explains Reid.
So far, feedback and support from the community has been outstanding. The Initiative has been working closely with Gary Ward, the St. Paul Rec Director. With the Town’s commitment, the Initiative is hoping for the County of St. Paul to match the funding; then the group will go after a Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Grant that will match the funds, if successful doubling their money. The group will be hosting a BBQ on Canada Day, at the Rec Centre, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, with money raised going towards the park.