St. Paul will support the BMX and Skatepark Society project with a $145,000 loan.
Town council listened to differing opinions for and against before passing second and third reading on the lending bylaw which will cover the remaining costs for the BMX Society while they fundraise to pay it back.
Despite some pushback on social media, Mayor Maureen Miller said on The Morning After that the community support and sponsorships the society has already garnered made the completion of the project worth pursuing.
“There was a lot of banter I have to say, which did create a lot of awareness. A lot of banter on Facebook for and against,” she said.
“I can’t use Facebook as a mode of decision process, that’s for sure. But it definitely created an opportunity for people to bring awareness to what this is what is going on because if it’s not something that you’re personally interested in, you don’t even know what’s happening.
“Kudos to that organization for doing that. It’s difficult in these times to gain that kind of money and obviously, the community was supporting it. They did it through bake sales and drives of all kinds. They’ve been working on this for five years.”
Dan Reid, chair of the St. Paul BMX and Skatepark Society, said in January that the project is 85 per cent complete and that the money will be used to cover the remaining construction costs.
A written submission opposed the bylaw, which requested the financials from the Society be printed, what the loan was going to be used for, and that the park would be accessible to only the “elite kids” or become a haven for drugs, bullying and vandalism.
She also suggested that Reid, who owns Bear BMX and BS, and members of council could be acting on ulterior motives in backing the loan.
Another written submission praised the work of the society and called the park a “great low-risk venture.”
New Line Skateparks has worked on the 20,000 square foot park near the Iron Horse Trail and 53rd Avenue at 49th Street.
“For us to have an asset in our community such as that, I mean, it’s going to be a million-dollar asset. At the end of the day for us to have in our community I think is great,” said Miller.
The Town is still paying for the land from Muni-Corr, said Miller.
In January, Reid said the park could be finished by June if they had the money secured.
Ten-thousand dollars has already been raised by the Society in paying back the loan, council notes said.