Two young Creston businessmen are spearheading a drive for the construction of a new skateboard park.
Lance Ogden and Jeremiah Wassink say the existing park at Creston and District Community Complex — one they helped work on 15 years ago — is poorly designed, too small and discourages participation of a wide range of ages.
“The park design didn’t have enough input from riders to begin with, said Wassink. “It wasn’t constructed by experienced builders and wasn’t well designed.”
“All the features are really steep,” Ogden pointed out. “It has been 15 years — everyone has learned a lot since then. There have been at least 40 skate parks built in the province since this one.”
A well-designed park, Wassink said, invites participation by not only skateboarders, but BMX riders, scooter fans and in-line skaters — almost anyone who enjoys recreation on self-powered wheels.
A new park, they envision, would start at the parking lot above the existing facility, and be tiered downward to where the park is now.
“Increasing the park’s visibility would discourage its use as a pot-smoking hangout and encourage parents and others to sit and watch the activity,” Ogden said. “It’s very entertaining when the park has a good design.”
Wassink said a good park needs to be a place where parents want to bring their kids.
“Most of the ones I’ve used have shade, seating and lighting,” Ogden said.
The longtime friends presented their idea to the July local services committee meeting, where regional directors gave them suggestions about how to proceed.
“We have talked to the community complex staff and they have been very helpful,” Ogden said.
“This is another way of keeping kids active and out of trouble,” Wassink said. “Not everyone wants, or can afford, to play team sports like hockey. And a good skate park doesn’t cost any more to maintain than a parking lot.”
While Ogden and Wassink were busy discussing their vision, a pre-teen BMX rider arrived on the scene. Soon the young adults had engaged him in a conversation, explaining their ideas and how they would benefit kids his age.
“I’d help,” said the youngster, pleased to be drawn into the conversation.
As an expression of their good will, the pair hopes to get permission to paint the concrete in the existing park, the walls of which are now covered by graffiti.
In the coming months, Ogden said, the goal is to gather more information, work to increase support, raise public awareness and find an existing community group that would hold and manage funds raised for the project.
“We don’t want to form another board or committee,” he said. “We just want to get the project done.”