A concrete Skatepark similar to what the group are advocating for in Dundalk
With another few weeks of lockdown looming, the prospects of young and old alike getting back on the field for team sports seems to be far down the horizon as we continue to do our bit to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
However one sport that has seen its popularity skyrocket during the recent lockdown is skateboarding, as people try to escape the monotony of walking and running for something with a little more excitement.
Unfortunately for those hoping to enhance those skills once restrictions begin to ease, Dundalk does not have a proper skating facility which is something Eibhlin Ryan and her fellow Dundalk Skateboarding Community members hope to change.
"There is a "skate-spot" in Marian Park/Coxes Demesne, but it is not a skate-park” she claims, “it was built a number of years ago and for its time may have been progressive, but it simply isn’t functional. From size, to materials used, to access, it does not serve the purpose of dedicated skaters.”
“That is why we have launched the campaign, for a proper urban concrete skate-park that will facilitate multiple users. It is important to note that we are a collective of skaters and BMX bikers."
The sport has grown from strength to strength in recent years, and despite remembering a time when the town had just a handful of skaters, today numbers are so high they struggle to count them all.
“We have whole families that are skaters, our youngest is around four years old and I would not like to say how old our oldest skater is so it is becoming immensely popular in the town and Lockdown seems to be adding to that growth”.
“It's something you can practice the basics of in your own garden and street, and it doesn't have to involve large numbers of people like team sports."
Skateboarding is a recent addition to the Olympic program, with Ireland already having a couple of professionals to inspire the next generation to excel at a sport which has become much more mainstream then in the past.
The group have been putting in the work to get their voice heard, with a petition having over 1100 signature online, while also recently getting in touch with local councillors with whom they hope to set up a working group to canvass other stakeholders over the next few months.
Given the investment needed for such a project, Ryan is under no illusions it will be a challenge but believes the skatepark could become a great asset to Dundalk.
“We all know it's not something that's going to happen next week, and there's going to be a lot of hard work to make it happen, but we are determined that Dundalk will have a proper, concrete urban skate-park.”
“It will mean just as much in the long run to everyone in Dundalk as it will brings visitors, engage young people and be of little to no cost in terms of maintenance."
More updates on their progress can be found on their Facebook page, Dundalk Needs a Concrete Skatepark, while those looking to sign the petition can do so at https://www.change.org/p/dundalk-town-council-louth-local-authority-dundalk-needs-a-concrete-skatepark.