A POPULAR skatepark in Bury St Edmunds will close next year while work to upgrade it, costing up to £300,000, goes ahead.
The current facility in Olding Road is at the end of its life for safe use, having been built out of wood in 1999 and regularly used by more than 200 people a day, including those on dirt bikes, scooters, skateboards, BMX bikes and in-line skates.
It is likely to close for demolition in around 12 months’ time and will be replaced by a bespoke concrete park but, before it closes, the Bury Skatepark Experience – a committee formed by some of its users – wants to raise as much as possible itself, in a campaign supported by the Bury Free Press.
Ben Gray, head of the group’s communication, said: “The new park will be more user-friendly and a lot more fun.”
He said it would be built at ground level, which would open it up to more styles, including street skateboarding, which had become increasingly popular in recent years.
“The group need to raise funding and community support to show how important it is to the town, and the wider community,” said the 21-year-old.
Already, grant funding is being applied for and the skatepark’s annual JAM, which is attended by thousands and will take place this year on September 9, is being turned into a fund-raising event, with fees being charged to those entering the day’s competitions.
Simon Pickering, youth and community officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “The new skatepark will cost between £250,000 and £300,000 but it will last a minimum of 30 years and will require virtually no maintenance.”
He said although the council would be willing to contribute to the project, no decision had been made yet on the extent of its financial support.
To have your say on the skatepark, click here to download a consultation form.
The committee has set up a petition to enlist the support of David Ruffley, MP for Bury. To sign it, go to www.change.org and search Bury skate-park.
Details can also be found on the group’s Facebook page, to find it search Bury Skatepark Experience.