Palestine’s new skate park will officially open Saturday; though the youth have already claimed it as their own.

The dedication ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. at the park located by the Palestine YMCA in Steven Bennett Park and will be followed by a demonstration by several young skaters, Amy Crofts, parks board chairwoman said.

“I have a lot of respect for these youths,” she said. “They have really stuck with this and worked hard to make it happen.”

Long before Joel Collins, with the help of his father Jeff Collins, worked to get ramps donated to the city, local skate board enthusiasts have been asking for a skate park.

“The youth were the driving force behind this,” Crofts said. “They were the ones that got $40,000 worth of ramps donated to the city, provided the materials, research, contact information and their time.”

She even was impressed when they came en force to each parks meeting when the development of the park was being discussed.

After the ramps were donated in March the council, in a subsequent meeting, designated $15,000 for the development of a skate park.

After many ideas of where and how to design the park, a site was chosen and construction started in late October and was completed earlier this month.

The construction of the park came in under budget, even with several minor projects left to go, according to Public Works Director Ron Sullivan.

“The total cost was $11,948.72,” Sullivan said.

As for the use of the park, Sullivan is convinced by current actions it will be used.

“Every time I go by there, accept for early in the mornings, there are children there skating,” Sullivan said. “I think they are really going to enjoy the park.”

As for future projects of the parks board, Crofts explained, that will be community driven.

“We are open to ideas from the community and would like them to come to our meetings on the first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at city hall,” she said.

To present ideas to the board, they would like to have a well thought out proposal, containing information on every aspect the project would need including funding.

“The parks board budget is extremely tight and we need them to present ideas on fundraising to get them going,” Crofts said.

She added the groups need to be willing to carry the project through to completion.

“They must be willing to take an active role in the project to make it happen, just like the youth did for the skate park,” she said.

To submit ideas to the parks board call Ron Sullivan to be placed on the agenda for the meeting.

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