A dream became a reality on Saturday as the Beaver Valley Skate Park was officially opened.
Although the all-wheel park has been completed and in use since last October, Saturday provided an opportunity for local officials, the Beaver Valley recreation committee and staff to recognize all the hard work and planning that went in to the $325,000 project.
Even before the dignitaries officially opened the park in Montrose, the site was already abuzz with riders of all ages out on everything from skateboards to bicycles.
Add families and friends watching along the hillside viewpoints, picnic tables, bleachers and benches and the event fulfilled the vision the recreation committee had from the outset.
“We want families to come here,” said Ali Grieve, chair of the Beaver Valley Recreation Committee, which works on behalf of Montrose, Area A and Fruitvale.
“We have picnic tables and benches around here. If mom or dad want to sit and read a book and watch their kids then they can do that. We wanted to make this great for the kids and the families as well.”
Mark Daines, manager of Facilities and Recreation for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, said the opening of the park is a culmination of a lot of work, research and input from users.
“It all came about because of the survey we did on recreation in 2015,” he explained. “The kids helped us through the process with the design and consultation. They were very much engaged and this is what they wanted. We built it for them.”
Paul Thompson of Montrose was one of the many young people enjoying the new facility.
“I like it a lot. There’s not too many crazy things that some people tend to do. It’s nice and simple.”
Daines said designing for all age groups was an important factor in the construction.
“We tried to build something that would appeal to all the ages.
“This particular design gives them lots of room. The small kids can ride in one area and you see the big kids in another area.”
He added the feedback has been great since construction was completed last fall.
“We finished it at the end of October last year and we had a couple of weeks of skating on it. The kids loved it right off the bat.
“I’ve had comments like ‘We love it,’ ‘We’re so happy to have it in the area.’”
One day he noticed a vehicle with California licence plates parked at the location.
“I saw their licence plate so I had to talk to those people. They heard there was a skate park here and they wanted to drop their kids off. The skate park community is very tight knit and they’re already telling each other via social media.”
And that’s what makes the location of the Beaver Valley Skate Park ideal.
“It’s on the bus route so people can come from everywhere,” said Grieve.
She explained the site was already a skate park but needed to be improved.
“The skateboard park has existed in our community for a number of years. A few years ago we were willing to help upgrade the existing facility but we figured it was more of a band-aid approach.
“After giving it considerable thought, the recreation committee decided not to upgrade the existing facility but go for a full-out improvement. And that’s what we see here today.”
The event included a complimentary BBQ, refreshments, and ice cream as well as free skateboard lessons by Ty Smith of the Tony Hawk Foundation, a retail display by RossVegas Boardshop, and draws for a complete skateboard deck and other prizes.
“We couldn’t have done it without the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) contributions and we’re very proud to share it with the whole community,” Grieve pointed out.
The CBT’s Recreation Infrastructure Grant Program awarded $150,000 towards the construction of the park.
Daines said the reaction from the young people enjoying the park on Saturday was another indication that the new facility was the right decision.
“We did the right thing. And we nailed it.”