Skate park set to open

Francesco Provenzano used a power trowel to put the finishing touches on the just-poured concrete pad for the new skate park.

Francesco Provenzano uses a power trowel to put the finishing touches on the just-poured concrete pad for the new skate park.

Hotdoggers take note: the cement is setting on the Orono skate park. The Orono Skate Park Committee (OSPC) has announced that the official opening of the new skate park will be held on Wednesday, July 15. The opening will start at noon, will likely include members of Clarington Council, and will be followed by a free BBQ hot dog lunch, said Peter Windolf, Clarington’s Manager of Park Development, and a member of the OSPC.

Construction of the skate park started last week, when the foundation was dug, gravel was laid, and a reinforcing steel frame for the base was installed. The concrete pad was poured on Monday. The modular skate park equipment is expected to be delivered and installed on July 13, said OSPC member Marilyn Rosseau. The installation should be done that same day, weather permitting, she said.

Windolf said that local skaters will likely start using the park as soon as the equipment is in place, and need not wait for the official opening. “The kids will be on it right away,” he said.

The modular equipment is being supplied by Canadian Ramp Co., a subsidiary of American Ramp Co. which bought the original supplier, Solo Ramps of Montreal, last fall. The company supplies pre-cast concrete forms, which are considered the quietest product of their kind.

In 2008, the OSPC received a grant of $65,000 from the Ontario government’s Trillium Foundation to pay for the skate park equipment. The Orono Amateur Athletic Association (OAAA), which had applied for the grant, requested an extension until the end of this year, to accommodate a delay in the equipment’s delivery caused by the change of ownership of the supplier.

According to Rosseau, the OSPC used “every last penny” of the grant money to get the best possible configuration of equipment for the park. Last year, the OSPC held meetings with local skaters to consult with them on the park’s design, and the configuration of the equipment.

The actual construction of the park, at an estimated cost of $44,000, was financed by the Municipality of Clarington. The concrete for the park’s base was donated by St. Marys Cement Co. of Bowmanville. This donation saved taxpayers approximately $20,000, according to an earlier statement by Windolf.

The size of the concrete pad was “reduced slightly for budget reasons,” he said last Thursday. The original design called for a 100 ft. by 40 ft. pad, but it was downsized to 80 ft. long by 34 ft. wide. “It’s basically the same configuration,” he explained. “It doesn’t impact the equipment; the equipment is the exact same. It doesn’t interrupt the flow, and there is still proper space between the elements. The reduction is to the outside edges of the park, behind all the features, to make sure it came in on budget.”

Rosseau said that there will be a sign in the park posting park hours to enforce Clarington’s new park curfew by-law. The skate park is located in Orono Park, which – like all Municipal parks – is only open from dawn to dusk (unless lit for specific night-time use). This usage by-law applies equally to skate boarders, swimmers, and others who use the park.

“The main sign will remind park users that the park is only open during daylight hours,” confirmed Windolf. “It will remind people to put trash in receptacles, to respect neighbours, things like that.”

At this point, no extra lighting is being installed for the skate park, partly due to the new municipal curfew, and partly due to budgetary constraints. “It would cost $8,000 just to bring the wiring to the skate park,” said Windolf. “We don’t have it within our budget. We’ll see how it goes. If there is a need, we’ll do it.”

When asked how it feels to be nearing completion of the project, – originally scheduled for the fall of 2008, before a revised construction date of June 2009 was set – Windolf said kudos should go to the OAAA.

“I think for the kids who skate board, it’s great that it’s finally getting done,” he said. “The OAAA, especially the Rosseaus and Rick Howe, have done most of the co-ordination: applying for the Trillium grant; appearing at Council; and holding public meetings.”

Marilyn Rosseau was equally appreciative of Windolf’s efforts to get the skate park done on time and within budget. “He was really helpful, very supportive and very knowledgeable. We couldn’t have done it without him,” she noted. “We also would like to thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation. It wouldn’t be possible without that $65,000 grant.”

The skate park is located in the southwest corner of Orono Park, directly south of the parking lot, and west of the baseball diamond.

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