YOUNG people in Gosport are praising the council for the work they have done for the new skate park in town.
Last weekend the mayor of Gosport Councillor Linda Batty opened up a revamped skate park in Bridgemary Park, which youngsters are now sayinghas revitalised the scene in the town.
The skate park was designed to be used by skaters, BMX and scooter riders and even wheelchair users.
A new surface provides a smoother ride for all users – with grind rails, ramps, benches and a separate bowl included.
Gosport Borough Council – which brought in Gravity Engineering to build the park – took advice from skaters who used the site when coming up with plans for the new one, after comments were made during the borough’s Summer Passport scheme.
The project cost £140,000, with a £50,000 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust, plus £5,000 from Sodexo and Urbaser.
The park has seen a surge in use, with youngsters who use the site having praised the council for giving them exactly what they want.
Shane Osborne, 22, said: ‘The old skate park was a bit run down and was always wet – it was dangerous for people to use.
‘This new one is completely different, and everyone is absolutely loving it – we tend to have around 30 people here each day.
‘What’s really great about the park is that everyone here respects what the council has done for us – it has encouraged kids to get off the streets and into the park, and they’re safe here because we can all look after each other.
‘We had a lad fall off earlier this afternoon, and everyone rushed to help him, so there’s a real sense of community spirit around here.
‘The only extra thing we have asked for from the council is a bin – it would be nice to have somewhere to put away our empty drink bottles.’
Clinton Stewart, 20, travels from his home near the town centre almost every day to use the revamped park.
He said: ‘People are coming from all over the town to use the skate park, which shows just how good this new site is.
‘Some people who don’t skate may see this as a waste of money, but the fact is kids aren’t hanging around on street corners anymore – they’re coming here and socialising with some fantastic people.
‘Because we are down here every day it means that the younger ones are in a safe environment.
‘We can teach them how to do new tricks properly so that they don’t injure themselves.
‘The council has done a really good job putting this together and we honestly cannot thank them enough.’
Cllr Linda Batty says that the young people were very enthusiastic about the park during the consultation period, and expects them to treat the site accordingly.
She said: ‘This new skate park means a lot to young people across the town.
‘It feels wonderful to give young people exactly what they want.
‘They seem really pleased with the park, which means they are likely to treat it with respect.
‘Bridgemary has needed this upgrade to the skate park and this truly is something for us to cherish.’