The local skateboard community are in the process of putting a draft plan together to present to Louth County Council which they hope will result in them getting a concrete skatepark somewhere in town. The group have started petition looking for 1000 signatures to help them achieve their goal and at the time of writing there were almost 900 signatures received.
Since COVID restrictions were first brought in during March local skateboarders have started to use one of the corners of Market Square but according to Eibhlin Ryan a mother of one of the skateboarders this is not viable long term as it is too close to the road and also has risks with regards to groups of people drinking at the square during evening time.
“We are currently drawing up a letter and a proposal booklet as well as a statistical study which will be given to the local authority with a view to asking them to provide us with a concrete skatepark. I am from Blackrock and my daughter is a keen skateboarder and I myself have been skateboarding ten years having taking it up in my thirties.
“There is an ever-growing community of skateboarders and BMX riders around Dundalk and unfortunately we have nowhere to go. Recently a lot of them have been seen skating at Market Square but this is not ideal as that area is close to the road and there tends to be groups of people drinking in gangs around the square which could potentially be an issue. We know skaters are not always welcomed in these open spaces by the wider community but we feel we have nowhere else to go.
“I drive my daughter to Belfast and to Bushy Park in Dublin and there is also a skateboard park in Drogheda which we sometimes go to. We are paying €25 to €30 to go to these places and we feel it’s about time a town the size of Dundalk should have a space which can be used by the skateboarding community. There is a plastic park in Marian Park here in Dundalk but to be honest that is useless and pretty dangerous as the wheels on a skateboard need a hard surface like concrete to grip. I don’t know who signed off on that area in Marian Park but it is not fit for purpose,” stated Eibhlin.
We the local skateboarding community would be extremely grateful for any support given to have such a facility made available here in Dundalk. This would mean a safer controlled environment for our youth to avail of without having to travel outside of our town. Now with the resurgence associated with skateboarding, it is imperative that we provide a suitable location for our skateboarding community to avail of.
“Having a skate park would not only benefit the local kids in the town but it would also bring in people from all over Leinster and beyond who would want to try out a new place to use their boards. Skate Parks have also been proven to reduce anti-social behaviour. We are delighted so far with the response to the petition we put up and we are hopeful that we will reach our target of 1000 signatures soon. We are hopeful that the council will listen to us and provide us with a space and we will keep pushing this issue until we make some progress,” promised Eibhlin.
The petition can be viewed at https://www.change.org/p/dundalk-town-council-louth-local-authority-dundalk-needs-a-concrete-skatepark