Anyone driving down Central Avenue in Grand Forks is likely to see a group of youths enjoying the Grand Forks skate park, be it day or night.
The park has been a hub for the community’s kids and young people for nearly the past 20 years. However, the park is in dire need of repairs and upgrades after close to two decades of use.
Skateboards, scooters and BMX bikes can all be seen at the park.
This spring, a group of skate park users came together to create a committee to represent the interests of the park and begin fundraising efforts to bring the park to its full potential.
The group has six members, including high school liaisons and young adults.
Skate park committee lead Tyler Van Moll said that the park’s concrete is worn out and needs to be repaired. This is part of a three- phase plan the committee has laid out for the park.
Phase one involves resurfacing, graffiti removal, and updating existing park features. Phase two is an expansion of the park, including finishing the bowl, and adding entry-level features for people new to the activity. Phase three is installing lights in the area. This would make the park safer and increase usage hours.
Van Moll clarified that art is welcome and encouraged at the park, but inappropriate graffiti is not.
“When we speak of vandalism, we’re not speaking of well-thought out graffiti art, we’re talking about vandalism like breaking glass, the spray painting of profanities, that kind of thing.”
If all goes according to plan, work will begin on phase one this October, with the goal being to complete phase one this year.
Any project of this calibre requires community support, and Grand Forks has done just that.
The skate park committee has received donations from several community groups and organizations. The Phoenix Foundation donated $10,000, Community Futures Boundary donated $2,000, and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) area D/rural Grand Forks director Danna O’Donnell contributed $5,000 through a grant in aid.
Grand Forks city council recently decided to give a charitable tax receipt for any personal donations to the park over $25.
The committee has been hosting fundraisers to drum up support, including a barbeque and bottle drive.
The skate park committee has also reached out to community organizations for sponsorship, and plans on submitting an application for a B.C. gaming grant.
The Grand Forks skate park is not alone in it’s need for upgrades. Van Moll said that parks around the province, particularly in Vancouver, are going through a similar process.
“It’s time to revitalize and do some resurfacing work, which is becoming a pretty common word in the millennium-built skate parks.”
The skate park provides a safe space for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy, said Van Moll. That’s the purpose behind this park, and the reason why these updates are necessary.
“Regardless or your socio-economic status, your level of athleticism, your entry point, whatever else, it’s an accessible facility,” Van Moll said. “It’s a very inclusive community, skateboarding is individually driven, so people can come in and access it on their own terms.”
Although fundraising for the skate park has come a long way, the committee is still in need of donations.
Donations can be made by cheque or cash and brought in to Grand Forks City Hall.