Mike Lawlor (centre with hat) is joined by patrons of the current skate park for a photo. The kids welcomed Lawlor with enthusiasm

Mike Lawlor (centre with hat) is joined by patrons of the current skate park for a photo. The kids welcomed Lawlor with enthusiasm

Skate park almost ready to break ground

With the necessary funding almost secure, the Stettler Skate Board Association is hoping to see work

With the necessary funding almost secure, the Stettler Skate Board Association is hoping to see work on the new skate park underway this year.

Mike Lawlor, president of the board, said that with funding in place from the Town of Stettler, funding and in-kind services numbers coming in from the County in early May, and other community groups and businesses making donations to the program, work could begin before summer this year.

The new park would replace the makeshift one located adjacent to the Stettler Recreation Centre in the outdoor rink. The outdoor rink serves as the skate park during the summer months before reverting to its original purpose once the temperatures drop, but it never quite loses the feeling of “rink.” The metal ramps and obstacles look unforgiving and unfriendly, but every day attract kids on bicycles, skate boards, roller blades and other wheeled items as they try to demonstrate tricks and jumps.

Lawlor himself used the skate park when he was younger, and now he’s wanting to see an improved structure in place for his family, he said.

“The town did the best it could with its original budget,” Lawlor said as he watched kids race over the rusty brown-orange obstacles on the outdoor rink. “The new park will be a whole new experience. It’ll be available for all levels (of skill), from beginner to experienced. A place to go.”

He said once the park is complete, he wouldn’t be surprised to see more than kids use it – the triangle-shaped concrete structure will offer something for anyone who loves the extreme sport, kids and adults alike.

The park was designed and will be built by Calgary’s New Line Skate Parks, which has designed parks all over Canada including new parks in Lacombe, Sylvan Lake, Red Deer and Calgary. It’s something Lawlor said he’s excited to see.

“It’ll bring families out, together, where they can skate and have fun,” he said.

The names of the donors will be integrated into the park itself, so while there won’t be a wall of donors, when visitors roll up a ramp or climb up a step, they might see the names of the local businesses, community groups, and individuals whose money helped bring the location into existence.

The new park will be located on a triangular outcrop of land adjacent to the ball diamonds rather than where the current outdoor rink is located, which means the rink will be retained for its winter use.

As he watched the kids on the current park obstacles, Lawlor couldn’t help but smile.

“This is why we’re doing it,” he said. “We enjoyed it as kids and we want to see our kids enjoy it.”

He took a moment to praise the dedicated group of volunteers who have been focused and dedicated to the cause during the past several years. During that time, the group went from a dream to a plan to a project ready to break ground, he said.

“Without their hard work, this wouldn’t be happening,” he concluded.

For more information about the Skate Park, or to volunteer, contact Lawlor at Lawlor Jewelry.