NEWBRIDGE Town Councillors received a presentation on how to best build a skate park from a member of Athy Youth Project Stephen Fahy at last week’s council meeting.
The councillors heard a number of issues that Athy Town Council, who plan to open their €250,000 park this July, managed to avoid when the idea was first mooted to them back in July 2010.
“Try not to re-invent the wheel,” said Mr Fahy. “So many other councils have done this and it is a matter of asking them how.”
The meeting heard that the best site for a new skate park is not necessarily the least controversial one as skaters have been subject to remote sites for decades and these parks consistently struggle to be the places that their communities desired.
The park has to be open access, which means it is owned by the local authority and maintained by them.
Councillors were advised to keep the end user in mind and consult with them “every step of the way”. Embarking on the process of creating a new skate park was described as J”a great opportunity to embrace a popular and fascinating youth activity”.
“The new park should be seen as a boon to the community that will be very popular with the youth,” Mr Fahy added. “With proper planning and good decisions the skate park will be a landmark for the entire community. There are over 30 public, free access, council run skate parks in Ireland. Any authority trying to do the same should learn from the better examples and imitate the process and learn from the mistakes of other councils.”
Cllr Michael ‘Spike’ Nolan said that a recent report on the possible location for a park at Dara Park Resource Centre was very favourable .
“The one thing we are coming up against is funds - who is going to take ownership?,” he said. “There are three estates up there and we have to take the residents’ point of view via a public consultation. We weren’t able to get it in the good times.”
Cllr Pat Black said the council needed to be positive about the prospect of a skate park.
However he indicated that the Town council does not own much land around Newbridge and it will have to have cooperation with residents.”
“Let’s pick a few locations and see what is suitable,” he said. “We don’t actively have a lot of land owned by Newbridge Town Council.
“Kildare County Council has availability but it is very limited.”
Cllr Willie Hamilton said that there are a number of sport grants available now.
“Be creative,” he said. “It is important for the council to give an indication of where it could be used.” \Mayor Molyneaux said that funds could be raised through the schools.
The idea of a youth facility and skate park to be built side by side was also mentioned at the meeting and Cllr Hamilton proposed that a map go to the next Kildare Area Committee with recommendations of possible sites for a park for Newbridge.
This was agreed by all councillors around the table.