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County Youth Park opens to enthusiastic response

County Youth Park organizers were thrilled to see about 500 people attend Day One activities at the Picton Fairgrounds Sunday. Bill Samuel photo

By Bill Samuel
From the second they opened the gates at the new County Youth Park, wheels were turning. Nearly 500 people came out to see the new park at the Picton fairgrounds and join in the festivities, free hot-dogs and drinks, music by the Lone Ronin DJ and endless action in the skate park.

Westlake Wakeboard School, Black Pony Bikes, Bridgeline Skate Express, Skate Board Shop and professional boarder Jereme Rogers all demonstrated their abilities to defy gravity.

“I am really pleased with the turn-out today,” said Barry Braun, Commissioner of Recreation, Parks and Culture. “It would be nice to see it this busy all the time.”

Braun and County Youth Park “father” Andrew MacKay have worked closely over the past few years with the youth of Prince Edward County to create the youth park. The day’s success was also in part due to the Ron Dubyk, site supervisor. The day was emceed by Matt Pancer.

“It was fantastic,” said MacKay. “I was blown away by how many people showed up.”

“I think that Andrew MacKay needs a special mention,” said Evan Nash, Board of Directors, County Youth Park. “He was amazing.”

The youth incorporated, forming Youth Park Inc. and raised $300,000 through dances, fund raisers and a grant and the County matched the investment. The federal and provincial governments have also partnered in the enterprise. As well as raising funds the youth were also involved in choosing the location and designing of the park.

“The county came in almost immediately,” said MacKay. “They helped us on all levels, they organized committees and helped with funding requests.”

Committing to the long haul proved to be important for everyone.
“We realized that putting the park off in the corner somewhere wasn’t what anybody wanted,” said MacKay. “The youth liked the location so they could show-off, the county likes it because it will attract people to the area and the security of the location and its users will be assured by being in a highly visible location.”

Though skateboarding is a solo sport there is a social aspect to it and the skatepark will give youth a place to meet their friends and find new ones. There is also a significant playground equipment set up in place.

After the professional demonstrations there were to competitions for skateboarding tricks and a draw sponsored by Beach Bum for a new skateboard – won by Liam Just.

The 14 and under skateboard competition was won by Jonah Melnyk, Belleville and the 15 and over event was tied by Andrew Locke, Picton and Garnet Barsley, Picton.

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesSports & Recreation

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  1. Dave Thomas says:

    We visited the park on Saturday prior to the opening and I was blown away by the quality of the facilities! My son is an avid skateboarder and we have a vacation place in the County. Now he will be super keen to get out to the County on the weekends because it has one of the BEST skate parks in the province (trust me, I’ve seen enough of them!). Congratulations on an outstanding job. Let’s all take good care of the facility and spread the word – Picton is the place to skateboard!

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