The half-pipe dreams of Ripon’s skateboarders, BMX cyclists, scooter riders and skaters of having a better place to perform their tricks has become reality with the opening of a revamped state-of-the-art skatepark in the city.
The official opening of the skatepark, which is located behind Ripon Community Leisure Centre on Dallamires Lane, was held on Saturday 18 October 2014 and saw over 100 young people turning out to show off their 360s, kickflips, nose grabs and McTwists.
The event was also attended by Councillor Mick Stanley, the Mayor of Ripon; Gill Stanley, the Mayoress of Ripon; Councillor Nigel Simms, the Deputy Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate; Lynn Symms, the Deputy Mayoress of the Borough of Harrogate; members of community group Ripon Bike Park Project who spearheaded the campaign, and representatives from the organisations who helped fund the project.
The decision to renovate the old skatepark, was made due to its deteriorating condition, and the desire by the local community to have a park that was more challenging and exciting than the existing facility. The new concrete facility is double the size, providing increased space for skateboarders, scooter riders, skaters and BMX cyclists in a safe location.
Harrogate Borough Council committed £31,000 to the project, while Ripon City Council contributed £20,000. Further funds were raised through a £50,000 grant from WREN, a not for profit business that awards grants to community projects across the UK from funds donated by FCC Environment to the Landfill Communities Fund, and a £50,000 grant from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund which is funded by the National Lottery. £24,661 was provided through an Armed Forces Covenant Grant, while the PCC Community Grant Scheme has contributed £5,240. Ripon Bike Park project also raised over £6,000 through their own community fundraising events including bag packing at Morrisons supermarket, race nights, a Christmas party, Christmas raffle and quiz nights.
Following planning approval in April, the council appointed Wheelscape which specialises in bespoke innovative skatepark design to build the facility. Construction of the skatepark began in June and was completed in October.
Councillor Phil Ireland, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Transport & External Affairs said: I have been very impressed by the dedication and commitment of so many young people in turning their dream into reality. They have been involved all along the way from helping raise the much needed funds to giving their views on the design – they really should be commended. The new park is a great improvement on what was here before and will provide a safe environment so that they can refine their skills and perfect new tricks. I am sure they will get a lot of fun and enjoyment from it.
Frances Fraser Chair of Ripon Bike Park Project said: I would like to thank every single person who has helped us. It has involved a lot of hard work, but looking at the results it has certainly all been worthwhile. We have been very lucky to receive funding from a whole host of organisations, while members of the Ripon Bike Park Project, which includes many young people who will benefit from this re-vamped skatepark, have worked tirelessly to raise funds.
We have helped the designers create a skatepark that is suitable for all ages, all levels of ability and which will be used by the young people of Ripon for many years to come. It was nice to watch the young people enjoying the park on the opening day and to listen to their comments of appreciation for all involved in making their dream a reality.