Final park sponsor to be named in new year

By Lawrence Gullery

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A corporate sponsor is likely to be named in the new year marking the completion of fundraising efforts for the William Nelson Park in central Hastings.

Hastings District Council committed $850,000 to the project and was looking for fundraising and sponsorship of $394,000.

Councillor Sandra Hazlehurst said money to be raised from outside the council would go towards the construction of the skate plaza at the park and the project was now within $83,000 of achieving that goal.

William Nelson Park will be constructed on 6000 sq m of land bordered by St Aubyn St, King St and Avenue Rd and will incorporate a park, a children's playground and a skate plaza featuring the latest, most innovative designs.

Sport Hawke's Bay, through its KiwiSport fund, has provided funds for an on-site coaching and mentoring programme at the skatepark.

"This programme will be provided by experienced and trained staff from Atomic, who will also act as guardians of the park," Ms Hazelhurst said.

She would not say whether long term, Atomic could move from its St Aubyn St location to be based at the new park.

"Ideally we would love to have them closer to the park but we are looking at all of the options at the moment."

A management group had also been established with key representatives of the community including Sport Hawke's Bay, Hawke's Bay District Health Board, Atomic, Hastings police, and Directions, along with parents and skaters, who meet regularly to ensure the park is a successful and safe place for young people.

Sport Hawke's Bay chief executive Colin Stone said the KiwiSport funding would to help provide more opportunities for kids to participate in sport, recreation opportunities and develop better skills.

"Through the provision of expert on-site coaching the new skatepark facility offers a unique opportunity, particularly for those youngsters keen to try out and get better at a non-traditional, but fast developing sport. We are excited about partnering this project," Mr Stone said.

Auckland firm Premium Skateparks pulled out of constructing the $1.4 million park because it was trying to complete a major project in Christchurch, which was delayed when the earthquake struck the Canterbury region.

The council re-advertised the job last week and expected strong interest from the construction industry. Premium Skatepark owner Jason Parkes would continue to work on the Hastings project as a consultant.

"Jason is tied up in Christchurch on a big project but we want to get started on the park. So he is going to come along on a weekly basis to make sure the project is built to his specific plan," Mr Stone said.

It was hoped the park would provide a place for CBD workers to visit during the day. It would also encourage young people to use the park for skating, instead of city carparks and shopping centres.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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