Haliburton Village BIA donates $25K to skate park project
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | March 9, 2017
Andrea Mueller was wide-eyed when she found out that the Haliburton Village BIA was donating $25,000 to the Haliburton Skate Park Junction project.
A letter was left at the township office’s front desk early Friday morning. Mueller, the township’s recreation coordinator, was notified about it upon arrival.
“I had no idea,” she told The Highlander Monday morning.
BIA president Luke Schell says ever since the skate park committee decided to rebuild the park by the A.J LaRue Arena, the group of 80 businesses that form the BIA wanted to make a significant contribution.
“It’s been in the works for a while,” he said. “We thought that the downtown merchants should be one of the major sponsors for helping youth out in the community.”
The BIA’s mandate is to promote business in the downtown core, and the proposed skate park, which is slated for construction this spring, is tied directly to that initiative, says Schell.
The BIA had been tentatively saving money for the skate park for the last four years, he adds.
“The surplus we were amassing was always likely going towards this project,” he said.
The installation of a watering trailer for the flowers in downtown Haliburton, says Schell, has saved the BIA thousands of dollars per year. In addition to the skate park, he hopes to see a family activity park encompass the concrete one.
“I think it would be gorgeous to have an area that caters not just to skateboarders but to families,” he said.
Mueller strongly agrees.
“We’d like to have some additional seating and shade shelters for families,” she said, adding it’s important that people who don’t skate are able to enjoy the green space as well.
“We have talked to council about that,” Mueller said.
The expansion of the township office will have a direct impact on parking flow surrounding the park, and Mueller anticipates a little boulevard to accompany the additional parking spaces.
The tender for Dysart’s township office expansion hasn’t gone out yet, and aside from concept drawings of the park itself, the remaining space has not been finalized.
“All these pieces have to come together,” Mueller said.
Skate park planner Robert Poyner is spearheading the designs for the new park. Poyner works for a company called Radius, which has built skate parks across the world. Early concept plans for the skate park in Haliburton resemble a flowy park with the potential for a large concrete bowl if enough money is raised.
The minimum fundraising goal is $175,000. Dysart’s Deputy Reeve Andrea Roberts announced the $100,000 in 100 Days campaign during The Battle of the Bands fundraiser Feb 24, which will be the final fundraising push before construction begins this spring.
The Rotary Club of Haliburton is committing to match the township of Dysart et al up to $25,000. The park is expected to be finished and ready to use by the end of August. Mueller says this campaign is the skate park committee’s primary focus right now. Approximately $99,000 has been raised so far.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.