Fredericton looks at rolling out downtown all-wheel plaza
Construction of plaza for skateboards, scooters and BMX bikes could start next spring
Fredericton's downtown could see a lot more 180 kick flips, boardslides and 50-50 grinds in its future.
For 20 years, Mitch Claybourn, recreation officer for the City of Fredericton, has been pushing for an all-wheel plaza in New Brunswick's capital city, a facility designed for people to skateboard, scooter and use BMX bikes in Fredericton.
"It's a place for them to go where they can practise their skill in a safe spot," Claybourn said in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.
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"We need to have one to meet the needs of our users."
The outdoor facility would be concrete and 25,000 square feet in size. He said the park would be designed to have very little maintenance. He's hoping the site will be located somewhere in the downtown area, so people will have easier access to it.
"It's a big spot but it needs to be big enough to accommodate all those sports at once," he said.
Claybourn said there are smaller parks in Fredericton, including the Kimble Road Wheeled Sport Park, the Henry Park Skateboard Park and the Mitch Clarke Nasis Park.
But he said Fredericton needs a larger park that can accommodate all city users.
There are similar all-wheel plazas in places like Moncton and Saint John, he said.
The new plaza would welcome people of all ages and levels. It would also help alleviate the disruption some skateboarders cause outside businesses in the downtown area.
Getting things rolling
Claybourn said city council is still working on a budget, but the cost of the facility will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Construction could start as early as next spring, he said.
Coun. John MacDermid of Ward 10, which includes west downtown and Sunshine Gardens, said budget approval should be finalized by early December.
"Council is seriously looking at this," MacDermid said.
A public meeting will take place Tuesday at the Odell Park Lodge at 397 Rookwood Ave., between 6 and 8 p.m. It will be the second public meeting the city has had about the all-wheel plaza.
A consultant will bring ideas about what the park can look like and potential locations, recommended by Fredericton youth. Discussions will also deal with costs.
MacDermid said it's important to know the public's thoughts about the design of the plaza, including ledges and banks.
"We need to go to the people that have that information so we can make sure we get it right and build something that they want to have and use," he said.
Another meeting is expected in early 2018, which will include the site's official location.
"We need to be strategic about this site because land … there's not a lot of it [downtown] so we need to make sure we find the perfect fit for this," he said.
With files from Information Morning Fredericton