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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

‘Neglected’ skate park could have new lease of life

A £150,000 investment could ramp up Alsager’s skate park.

Those behind plans for its improvement have “impressed” the town council with their vision.

Skateboarders who use the Milton Park facility have been consulted about the project and what designs would be needed to attract more local riders in future, and those from further away.

Kath Reader, of Alsager Skate Park and vice-chair of Alsager Partnership, expressed her concern over the “sorry state” of both the Milton Park skate park and the adjacent car park.

She said: “The skate park is at the edge of the park and in a state of disrepair. We started to look at it, particularly refurbishing it, because it’s not been refurbished since 2007 – it was state of the art then and has moved on now.

“It seems like it’s been neglected. We can’t tell if there are many people who go on there, and it’s not been used for what it should be used for. It just looks very dilapidated in what is a super park.

“The unofficial car park adjacent to it, off Sandbach Road South, is in a sorry state and has a number of potholes, so we’re going to be able to get that tidied up which would make it a better entrance – it would be an opening to the town that is always looking its best.”

Mrs Reader said three companies have been approached about refurbishing the skate park and that all three are “highly recommended” skateboarding companies that have worked on lots of similar sites.

The companies competing for the renovation contract are Mind Work Ramps, Canvas and Betongpark. They have pitched their ideas to Ansa, Cheshire East Council’s arm’s-length maintenance company, and details of the successful project will be revealed later this year.

“We’re going to need to raise a lot of money,” Mrs Reader added. “We’ve estimated it could cost £150,000. We’ve put the feelers out with various foundations that fund these sort of projects. We’ll be doing some crowd funding at some point and we’re hoping the council will help us in a small way.”

Once a company has been chosen and the refurbishments costs known, fundraising will begin – probably in September.

One of the community group members, Paula Bancroft, is well placed to lead the project as the mother of two 16-year-old boys who are both “aggressive inline skaters”, which means they use specially modified rollerblades for trick moves.

She said: “The town is growing and growing and we have a skate park that no-one uses. It doesn’t flow and skate parks have evolved to flow.

“Local skateboarders came along and they told us what’s wrong with the skate park and how it doesn’t work. They showed us what needs changing and what we can do to make it flow.

“We’re so close to the train station so it will attract skate boarders of all ages which will help prevent anti-social behaviour if the older ones are there – and the younger ones can learn tricks from them, too.”

Ms Bancroft added: “As it is now, at nighttime, I can’t imagine who hangs around there but this will bring a nicer group of people.”

The group has a stall at Alsager Carnival, on Saturday, 18th June, and plans to raise funds for the project by organising a raffle with a prize linked to skate boarding.

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