Ashhurst teenagers all set to ramp it up

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 12:00 28/11/2013
Ashhurst skate park
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ

BOARD KIDS: Teens excited about the new skate park are, from left, Josh Whitta 17, Sam Jagger 13, Reuben Adrian 15 and Brandon Drummond 17. Behind them are Jeff Baker (PNCC) and Senior Constable Mark Glentworth.

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Ashhurst teenagers who wanted a skate park in their home town so badly they designed it themselves, will see their dream come to life early next year.

Guildford St Reserve, opposite the Ashhurst police station, will be revamped early next year, with the crowning glory being a replacement of the run-down and dangerous half-pipe with a professionally laid-out skate park.

The wheels for the project were put in motion by a group of teenagers who made their voice known that there was not enough to do in Ashhurst.

"It feels like we have been listened to," skater Brandon Drummond said.

"We needed something because the nearest skate park is 15 kilometres away in Palmy, which can be pretty hard for us to get to."

The Palmerston North City Council, the Ashhurst Community Trust, Ashhurst police and a $25,000 grant from the Meridian Te Apiti Community Fund have helped bring their designs to life.

Palmerston North City Council leisure assets planner Jeff Baker said the council had asked the teenagers to get involved a year ago by designing a skate park to fit in the space.

What they had come back with was amazing, he said.

"They were very realistic about everything. We had a pro-designer look over it and they were 90 per cent of the way to getting the perfect design."

Now funding had been secured, construction of the park would begin early next year and could be completed relatively quickly, Mr Baker said.

"The reserve has just sort of sat there lately so while we're doing the skate park we've seen an opportunity to upgrade the reserve a bit, too.

"We'll set a bit of money aside to do the toilets, add a bit of seating and some planting to try and get families down here enjoying a picnic."

The council would look after any upgrades and the maintenance of the park. Ashhurst skater Josh Whitta said designing a skate park to fit into the reserve was a cool opportunity for the teens.

"I designed mine in a night. I have always wanted to design one, so it was pretty easy," Josh said.

Ashhurst senior constable and community trust member Mark Glentworth said the skate park was an example of police and the trust listening to concerns about the amount of recreational facilities in town.

The fact the skate park would be opposite the police station was not entirely a twist of fate, Mr Glentworth said. "It's all part of the plan. We want families to be able to come down and enjoy it."

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- Manawatu Standard

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