Skatepark still a ‘half-pipe’ dream

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Plans for a skatepark in Banbridge are coming along slowly but surely, according to one of the groups involved in the proposal.

Precision NI, a group of adults who have a passion for skateboarding and have had for over ten years, have been working in conjunction with the council with the aim of seeing their dream of a new facility become reality.

They have positioned themselves as an official voice to represent the views and opinions of the local urban sports enthusiasts, such as BMXers, skateboarders, bladers and parkour runners.

Things are still at an early stage in the project, according to the group.

“The local council have recognised and appreciate the demand for such a facility in the town,” said a spokesperson.

“At the moment the main aim is to try and establish sources of funding for such a facility as well as try to establish an initial build cost as well as maintenance costs. In doing this a realistic aim for how much funding may be required can be determined.”

Solitude Park has been earmarked by Precision as a possible location for any future facility. They say one is a necessity to provide a safe environment for people who currently have to practice in schools or in unprepared areas in parks.

“We would be keen to see any sort of facility or feature such as a bowl or a simple bank and rail set up,” the spokesperson added.

“The long-term idea of a full size skatepark is fantastic and any shape or size will be welcomed and appreciated.

“As of yet, a location has not yet been identified, however, Solitude Park, we feel, would be the ideal location of choice as it provides easy access for users in a safe, town centre environment.

“It will provide an area where users can skate safely out of the way of the public and eliminate the potential for injury to occur to bystanders.”

The group believe that a skatepark could draw in visitors from across Northern Ireland, eager to practice their sport.

“A skatepark will almost certainly be used by people from miles away as we, on a weekly basis, travel to Carrickfergus to use their facility, in turn boosting the number of visitors to the town,” added the spokesperson.

“Aside from current skaters using the facility, it will encourage younger members of the community to pick up a new sport and help skateboarding, BMXing and other such sports to grow.

“In conclusion, we feel that a skatepark in Banbridge will only have a positive effect on the local area.”