Skateboarders ramp up campaign by raising the money themselves

Kilkenny’s skateboarders are tired of waiting for the local council to build a skate park – so they’re planning to raise the money and build it themselves.

Kilkenny’s skateboarders are tired of waiting for the local council to build a skate park – so they’re planning to raise the money and build it themselves.

Their aim is to build an indoor skate park in an industrial estate in the city, and they need to raise around €30,000 to do so.

To kick things off, Castlecomer skater Ed Downey is planning to skate all the way from Malin Head in Donegal to Mizen Head in Cork, setting off on September 21 and aiming to complete the 412-mile journey in seven days – in time to be back in Kilkenny for the All-Ireland senior hurling final replay.

The trek has been undertaken once before and completed in 11 days, but 24-year-old Ed is hoping to beat that record.

The idea of taking charge of the skate park plans themselves has been developed over the past year or so by Urban Sports Kilkenny, which has joined up with other groups including Kilkenny 360, according to facilitator Mick Greene.

Now, he said, “we are no longer waiting for someone else to dictate what is happening.”

The fund-raising plan has two goals: first, to cover the cost of renting an industrial unit, including the running costs; and second, to pay for the building-out of the space as an indoor skate park. They estimate that they will need €15,000 to cover the costs of building it out, plus annual running costs of €15,000.

The costs will vary based on the size of the unit – they are looking at a space of 3,000 square feet – but one advantage of having a skate park indoors is that it doesn’t require concrete and steel, “so it will be relatively inexpensive,” said Mr Greene.

Once the skate park is open, there will be a membership fee of €2.50 or €3. “The business plan is based on charging as little as possible,” Mr Greene said. “If we could fund-raise and reduce that further, even better.”

The running costs will be an estimated €15,000 a year so, accounting for the expected revenue, the group would need to raise €7,500 or €8,000 annually.

For their first fund-raiser, donations can be made on www.boardman.ie, which will accept payments via PayPal. The group is also organising bucket collections for the week of the event, sponsorship forms will also be available in local businesses, and Urban Sports Kilkenny is planning to contact local businesses to offer them a chance to be partners in the project.

Two further fund-raisers are also being planned for October. One of the local skaters is planning to compete in the Broadway Bomb race in New York City on October 20 to raise money towards the Kilkenny skate park; and the group is planning a 5k or 10k fun run towards the end of October.

“The guys are really engaged and really positive,” about getting started on the fund-raising campaign, Mr Greene said. “They know that every step that they take, they are one step closer to the goal.”

And if the council wants to help them by putting any money behind it, that of course would be welcome too, he said. “We’re hoping that people will get behind the campaign.”