LETHBRIDGE: Half a million dollars has now been set aside for community projects - including a new Lethbridge skateboard park. City council approved Monday $500,000 for initiatives like the interfaith food bank, tennis and swim clubs. The largest portion, totaling $200,000, is earmarked for a new skateboard park. Representatives of the Lethbridge Skateboard Association say the nod is encouraging, but is really just a "drop in the bucket." The grant is based on a cost-sharing model that requires community groups raise matching funds to "unlock" the money. Estimated total cost of the project is $600,000, which leaves $400,000 for fundraising.
"You're not going to sell enough hotdogs or empty bottles to do that," said Wade Galloway shortly after the decision became final. "It's really being pushed upon the community to fund it, whether it be philanthropic or the business community."
Meanwhile, the city has plans to invest $12,000 in repairs to the current skateboard park, which has long been deemed unsafe by those who use it. Cracks, steep obstacles and pavement grading should be smoothed out by the repairs. But what the town really needs, says Galloway, is a more accessible, larger park - one the entire community will enjoy.
"A skateboard park is a gathering spot and it's a place where people socialize. And it's not just a skateboard-related thing, it's all youth who can use it," said Galloway. "And that's something that's desperately lacking in the city."
Photo by Country 95 News: A skateboarder looks on as council debates funding for the park last April.