ONCE described as a pipedream, Leongatha skaters and BMXers have been out in force trying out their new impressive street elements and skate bowl at the Leongatha Recreation Reserve.
The $450,000 regional skate park was officially opened on Sunday, marking the completion of a successful campaign which began when a group of young skaters presented their ideas to the South Gippsland Shire Council.
The facility was designed in consultation with local youth skater groups and funded in partnership with the South Gippsland Shire Council that provided more than $300,000, the community who fundraised $20,000, the Leongatha Recreation Reserve Committee which provided $20,000 and $100,000 from the Victorian Government. Local service clubs also chipped in.
The redevelopment included the excavation of the old and worn out skate bowl and the pouring of a new 1.5m-deep concrete skate facility.
The new street skate area also features numerous skate elements including rails, ramps, transitions, banks, stairs and level changes to carve and grind.
Finishing touches include a shade shelter, drinking fountains, paths and landscaping.
The skate park caters for everyone from the most skilled and experienced skaters, to young skaters and riders who are just getting started.
The revamped facilities also provide the perfect base for Leongatha to stage local and regional competitions, bringing young people throughout South Gippsland together to showcase their skills.
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing MP joined South Gippsland Shire Mayor Cr Bob Newton to officially open the facility.
“Skate parks are a huge part of today’s youth culture and provide a safe place for young people to practice, hang out and connect, while also promoting active lifestyles.
“Whether it’s out on the field or in local skate parks, opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of all Gippslanders are a big priority for the government.
“Experienced and budding local skaters in Leongatha now have a great space to come together, make friends, and show off their skills.
“The new Leongatha Skate Park gives the young people of Leongatha even more reason to get on board with healthy and active sport and outdoor activities.”
Ben Patterson led the community push for the facility upgrade and his lobbying, with help from his mates, prompted the council to set aside budget money and apply for significant grants.
Ben thanked council officers Sophie Dixon and Ian Murphy for keeping the project on track throughout the long process.
He also thanked the councillors, designers, Sport and Recreation Victoria, the recreation reserve’s user groups and committee and the contractors for their work.
After the opening, skaters and BMX riders representing Vortex and Wheel Heat should what they could do in the new facility.