While skateboarders across the city prepared for a mass rally at city hall, Steve Jarrett from the Beaches Skatepark Association (formerly the Southeast Toronto Skateboard Association) and long-time skatepark supporter Steve Kotsopoulos met with Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon on Feb. 9. By the end of the day, McMahon had been brought up to speed on the decade-long history of the skatepark at Coxwell and Lakeshore, and had a change of heart, as she pledged to have funding in place for the second phase of the park in coming weeks.
“We’re happy to follow through with phase two of the park with different funding,” she said. “We’re very hopeful it’s not going to be delayed. In the next couple weeks we’ll have sorted funding out, and then it’ll be put out to tender.”
The $300,000 in Section 37 money from the TTC’s future Ashbridges Bay streetcar facility will still be set aside for community consultation, said McMahon; funds for the second phase of the skatepark, which will consist of a bowl or pool feature, will come from elsewhere.
“The ward’s going to have to deal with this boondoggle of a storage yard, so the money should be really allocated to something for the whole community,” she said. “The bonus today is that we found out about different pots of funding that we didn’t know about.”
McMahon learned more about the history of the skatepark during meetings, including the extensive grassroots community support that initiated the project. A group of skaters has also taken over maintenance of the facility.
“That’s great, because our big thing is to get a ‘friends of’ group for every park in the ward,” she said.
McMahon said funding – including some of the TTC money, if need be – should be arranged within a few weeks to put the contract out to tender. With an estimated three and a half month construction schedule, the bowl should be completed before the end of 2012.