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Work finally starts on skatepark

PUBLISHED: 19:02 23 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:14 03 March 2010

THREE years after the battle started, work has finally begun on a BMX and skateboard park in Ipswich.

Workmen and bulldozers are already on site at the Bridge Park Skatepark on Grafton Way, in the town laying the foundations.

THREE years after the battle started, work has finally begun on a BMX and skateboard park in Ipswich.

Workmen and bulldozers are already on site at the Bridge Park Skatepark on Grafton Way, in the town laying the foundations.

Ramps and jumps will soon be in place ready to be used by the many fans of skateboarding, skating and BMX riding, in the town.

It has been a long, hard slog since parents as well as riders and skaters got together and said enough was enough and formed the Ipswich Skatepark Appeal.

Tina Wiles, secretary of the appeal said it was "lovely" to see work eventually being started.

She became involved because her sons were BMX riders and there was never anywhere safe for them to go.

So a partnership was started with Ipswich Borough Council to get a purpose built site underway.

Those who will be using the park were involved every step of the way, helping to design it exactly the way they wanted it.

Mrs Wiles said: "The council has been so supportive.

"This is an important example of local authorities working with community groups."

The siting of the park had been carefully considered and Stoke Bridge was thought to be the perfect place.

Mrs Wiles said: "This is central to everywhere and is not really a residential area.

"There are quite a few different estates in Ipswich and if they had been put on one of those, people might have claimed it as 'theirs'.

"But this is very central."

Through the partnership, a lottery grant of nearly £90,000 was secured to put towards the park, which in total has cost £170,000.

Huge financial support was also given by groups including Suffolk Constabulary, River Action Group and the Ipswich Sports Council, among many others.

An ordinary park will also be included on the site, where people can go and sit and it is hoped that two huge, wooden former dock gates will make up part of the landscaping.

Shawn Allen, 26 said: "It has been difficult finding somewhere to skate and we have been restricted to using car parks a lot of the time.

"A lot of people will be very glad that this is here.

"I think it will be very well used and is in exactly the right place here – it is floodlit as well so we can use it at night."

Although the park will generally be unsupervised it is hoped, where possible, to have a park leader on site, who will be encouraged to take training courses in First Aid, coaching and child protection.

All new members will also be offered an induction session providing guidance in the safe use of the park.

For further information on the appeal and the park check out the website on www.geocities.com/ipswich_skatepark

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