New £170,000 skatepark plans for resort
BLUEPRINTS for a £170,000 skateboard park have been drawn up – and raising funds is key to getting lift off for the teen project.Teenage skateboarders in Felixstowe are hoping to jump the generation gap and persuade councillors to do something for young people.
By Richard Cornwell
BLUEPRINTS for a £170,000 skateboard park have been drawn up – and raising funds is key to getting lift off for the teen project.
Teenage skateboarders in Felixstowe are hoping to jump the generation gap and persuade councillors to do something for young people.
They are seeking backing for a scheme to transform a park into a haven for youngsters, with a purpose-built skatepark and shelter as its centrepiece.
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Adults supporting the youngsters in their campaign say it will take them off the streets, give them something to channel their energy into, cut youth crime and vandalism, and provide a fantastic facility for the resort's young people.
But while councillors may well back the plan when it is presented to them later this month, lack of funds looks set to be the main trouble.
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The project drawn up by cycle shop owner Stephen Flynn and top BMX rider Steve Upson would cost between £12,000 and £170,000.
"It would be fantastic if what we have designed, with the input from the young people, could be built," said Mr Flynn.
"The young people in this town need a facility like this. We hear councillors talking about satellite areas around the town, but those would be very small and not what the youngsters want.
"One big skatepark in a central area they could all get to easily – at Langer Park – would be best.
"That way all the youngsters would be together, it would be easy for the police to keep an eye on. We would form a club and a team of volunteers to patrol it, and organise competitions occasionally.
"It would be a place to be proud of, and enable councillors to do something wonderful for the young people, the sector of our society most difficult to cater for."
Mr Flynn, who owns Flynnstar Bicycles in Constable Road, Felixstowe, said the park could be used by skateboarders, BMX riders and there could be a smaller area for trials riders, who practice currently on the rock groynes on the beach.
Mr Upson, who has ridden in BMX events in Europe and America, helped with the specification of the bowls, pipes, ramps and jumps, to design a series of possible courses, from basic to full skatepark.
"We know we are talking about a large sum of money, but lottery grants might be available and sponsorship, and we would be looking to explore all possible avenues for finance," said Mr Flynn.
Youngsters in the town have already launched petitions and formed an action group at the Level 2 youth centre to wage a campaign and lobby councillors.
Felixstowe has just one skateboard area on Cavendish Park, but the £10,000 facility comprises simply an undulating tarmac strip and is flooded and unused.
Youngsters play on pavements and raised edges of grass and flower beds on The Triangle, Hamilton Road – to the annoyance of shoppers and traders – or persuade parents to take them to other towns to use proper jumps and ramps.