Skatepark set to rise from barren site

By Amy Shanks

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The arrival of contractors at William Nelson Park marks the start of a much anticipated, innovative development which will include a skate plaza, children's playground and grassed area.

Located on the corner of St Aubyn St, King St and Avenue Rd - Hastings District Council hopes it provide an inner-city haven and keep skateboarders out of the CBD.

"That's the aim really, a lot of people are concerned with skateboarders in the middle of town. About four years ago we took a really tough stance and started confiscating skateboards but feedback from young people was that they had nowhere to go," Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said.

"We are now able to say that we have given them somewhere and it cost a lot of money, so once the park is up and running we will be enforcing a ban in the CBD."

Work began on the barren concrete site yesterday and is scheduled to finish well before Christmas this year, after being delayed for about five months.

"The contractor we had tendered to do the work had so much on in Christchurch after the earthquakes he had to pull out. He is the best in the country and was still involved in the planning stages," Mr Yule said.

Fundraising and donations contributed $310,700 to the overall cost of the park, which totalled over $1million.

"[Council] had reserves that we decided to put towards the park. Some of it was left over from the sale of Nelson Park."

The skatepark has been designed by Jason Parkes from Premium Skate Designs and his services as a consultant will be retained during construction.

His goal was to provide an environment that will ensure it is utilised properly, thus enabling youth to improve their skills and be valued as an asset by the whole community.

Sport Hawke's Bay has given Kiwi Sport funding to provide on-site coaching and mentoring programmes which will be co-ordinated by staff from the Atomic Events Centre, all year round.

"It's something that people have been asking for, for years and now we are underway I am very excited," Mr Yule said.

Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers added that the project would be designed and built using the best materials.

"We are confident that the skatepark will be finished to a very high standard and skaters, skateboarders and BMX riders will be delighted with the quality of the facility."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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