A $30,000 US donation was icing on the cake when council awarded the Trail All Wheel Skatepark contract this week.
Rich and Annie Murphy, owners of the Trail Smoke Eaters, presented the city with a $30,000 cheque Tuesday morning.
“This just further cements their commitment to the community and the youth of this community,” said Trail Mayor Mike Martin. “We just really can’t say enough about what they’ve already done and continue to do, and this is just another demonstration of that.”
Later, during the afternoon governance meeting, council approved a $625,000 contract to New Line Skateparks for a “turn key” build that includes the hardscape surface and landscaping.
After 15-or-so years of planning and re-planning the project, which will be located near the Gyro Park boat launch, is expected to be complete by September 2018.
Scott Daniels, from Friends of the Trail Sk8 Park Society, says, “Members, some of whom have been involved in advocating and fundraising for the park since 2010, are delighted with the new news that the city has awarded the project to New Line Skateparks, and that the generous and community-minded owners of the Trail Smoke Eaters, Rich and Annie Murphy, have donated $30,000 US to the project.”
The Murphy Family Foundation donation tips the scales as the largest personal donation to this project, Daniels added.
“Their donation speaks volumes to the breadth of their generosity, contributing now to an activity for children and youth that may or may not be involved in hockey. We are so fortunate to have them in our community.”
The lack of a skate park in Trail was a hot topic during the November 2014 municipal election, and became a strategic priority for the sitting council early the following year.
Now going into Year Four, the Trail mayor paid tribute to all those who came before him and fought for the skate park dream to become a reality.
“The vote that council took (Tuesday) evening on moving forward with the skate park really was a culmination of many over the years,” Martin told the Trail Times. “But for this council, we committed to this in Year One as we took office and it’s just absolutely delightful that we’ve actually been able to pull this together and make that final commitment to move forward in 2018.”
Martin says the Trail All Wheel Skatepark completes all of the key objectives council set in its strategic plan.
“Whether it’s the Columbia River Skywalk, the two big projects at the airport, the Riverfront Centre and bridge lighting,” he said. “It’s all come together very well and I think it really sets a new course for our community. We are just absolutely delighted to see this move forward as part of the plan for next year.”
Along with the Murphy Family Foundation donation, the city has received a $150,000 grant from Columbia Basin Trust toward the build as well as $72,500 plus $4,500 in-kind contributions from Friends of the Trail Sk8 Park. Trail taxpayers will fund the balance of $480,000.
“Newline Skateparks Inc. is very familiar and open to working with in‐kind donations from local merchants and service providers,” noted Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff. “Should donations of services come forward with this project, a ‘credit’ would be applied that could either go towards enhancing the facility beyond the original scope or go towards reducing the overall project costs to the city.”
The society is fully on board with New Line Skateparks being awarded the project, said Daniels.
“(And) in our opinion, one of the best companies to have partnered with,” he explained.
“In addition to constructing the nearby park in Nelson, they were responsible for Canada’s premier skate park that was constructed on some of Winnipeg’s most expensive real estate at the foot of Canada’s Museum for Human Rights on the land of the Forks,” Daniels concluded.
“Similarly, Trail will be able to boast a premier skate park at perfect location for children: at Gyro Park.”
In 2003, Trail council held a public consultation to review potential locations for a skate park which, back then, was estimated to cost about $200,000.
Gyro Park was the chosen site that year, but backlash from neighbouring residents forced the city to re-think the locale – later the Gulch turn around was named the grounds for the facility.
As the estimated cost escalated and concerns about the Rossland Avenue location were raised, the skate park was put on hold year after year. Fast forward to 2010, after being lobbied by local youth, city council put the project on the slate although location continued to pose discourse in the community – “Not in my back yard,” appeared to be the consensus.
One year later the Gulch site was cemented as the spot, a series of public consultations resumed, and New Line Skate Parks came on board with conceptual site designs.
After years of debate about cost-sharing, in 2012, the city committed to pay one half – or $275,000 – toward a Trail skate park. The other half would have to fundraised by the skate park society.
Incidentally, that year, the city missed out on a one-time opportunity to have the facility 80 per cent funded through a provincial Community Recreation Program. Since then, the project was deferred during annual capital budget deliberations.
The skate park, now referred to as an “All Wheel Skatepark,” was taken off the back burner in early 2015, chosen as a key priority and moved back to Gyro Park. Columbia Basin Trust opened a new recreational grant program, and awarded the City of Trail $150,000 earlier this year.