Despite many years of promises and posturings, a skatepark for Kilkenny City has never materialised – but now it seems there is a ray of hope.
For much of 2011, the Closh was built up as the location of choice for a skatepark, and then earlier this year it was definitively ruled out. The James Stephens swimming pool building too came up as a possibility, and it too was then snatched away from under skaters’ noses.
The skaters and their supporters say they feel totally let down by their elected representatives and the council that has consistently failed to deliver even a basic facility. But now Mick Greene, the community activist who has been campaigning on behalf of the skaters for years, has come up with a new plan to finally make something happen – and it’s gaining momentum.
The Arthur Guinness Projects supports potential projects in music, sport, arts or food that would benefit from financial and practical assistance. Projects can be submitted online until August 9,a nd the public are able to vote for their favourite ideas until August 23, after which the top 10% of projects will be submitted for judging.
“A group of people put the application together and it is going extremely well,” says Mr Greene.
“We had a delay in getting it it but we are flying along and should be up with the leaders before long.
“From a community perspective, this is a good project. The agreement is we cover all the operating costs, while they put up the capital. It’s not just a skatepark; there would be things like a space for youth theatre, bands, and even a youth entrepreneur centre with hot desks, phones, and possibly some kind of business supports.”
The skatepark project has shot from a long outsider up into fifth place. The winning projects can be awarded a bursary of up to €50,000, as well as advice and mentoring.
“My interest has always been about what you can do with the skaters – from a youth development point of view, it’s about getting them interested in something,” says Mr Greene.
“There are guys who were campaigning for this ten years ago and some of them are teachers now, some have emigrated.”
Mick Greene, the skaters, and the hundreds of others who have supported the idea want to finally make a skatepark a reality. Vote on https://www.arthurguinnessprojects.com/sport/the-kilkenny-skatepark-project.