Skateboarders dig park upgrade

Okotoks: Town allocates $200,000 to improve skate park

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 09:03 am

Fifteen-year-old Jayden Halarewich rides a rail at the Okotoks skate park, which will undergo $200,000 in improvements this season.
Fifteen-year-old Jayden Halarewich rides a rail at the Okotoks skate park, which will undergo $200,000 in improvements this season.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Okotoks youth are stoked about mastering their ollies and kickflips on a bigger and better skate park this summer.

The Town of Okotoks’ allocated $200,000 in this year’s budget to improve the skate park south of the Okotoks Recreation Centre.

“An expansion, that would be sweet,” said 19-year-old Dakota Thiessen.

Thiessen said the park is too small for the amount of people who use it and it’s not on par with parks in larger centres like Calgary. With no improvements made to the park since it was built in 2001, he said it is slowly deteriorating.

The skate park is a hub for youth of varying ages who practice endless tricks on skateboards, scooters and bikes.

Among the park’s frequent users is 16-year-old Adam Browne, who said there were discussions to improve the park when he moved to Okotoks, but nothing was done.

“It’s like a relief that it’s finally going to happen,” he said.

Christa Michailuck, Town of Okotoks’ open spaces team leader, said the need to enhance the park was identified in 2005 in the Okotoks Recreation Facilities Master Plan and she is glad to see if finally happen this year.

The master plan is a document that reviews outdoor recreation amenities in town, taking into consideration population, demographics and recreation trends, to identify recreation needs, including the skate park.

“It’s getting increasing use and the users of the facility have been asking the Town to expand it for quite some time,” she said.

The Town is advertising for a consultant to host a workshop, create designs to improve the park and make the improvements.

Michailuck said an open house and design workshop will likely take place in May to gather input from park users and the public before coming up with a design.

“Part of our project for this year is to engage the public and the... users of the site in a participatory design process,” she said.

Michailuck said the company’s designs will be presented at a second open house and a final draft brought to Town council for approval.

Improvements and/or expansions should be complete before the end of the 2014 construction season, she said.

Shortly after the skate park was built, Michailuck said a group of interested citizens expressed interest in seeing it expand. Although a design was proposed in 2005, it was never implemented, she said.

“Rather than go forward with that design, as it may be too out of date, we thought lets redo the public engagement piece,” she said.

Wendy Gudzus, whose 15-year-old son Nik spends hours skateboarding at the skate park, said it’s important the town improve the park to continue giving skateboarders a safe place to board.

“They can’t skate anywhere else,” she said. “The schools don’t want them in the parking lot, the businesses don’t want them in the store fronts. I’d prefer if he does it at the recreation centre.”


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