New £45,000 skate park opening in High Green

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A new £45,000 skate park has opened up in High Green’s Angram Bank Park.

The park has taken three years to complete, but was opened at an official event on Saturday October 15.

Families throughout the community attended the event, and the park had a brilliant atmosphere that showed the impact the skate park is already having on the area.

Dave Ogle, 50, one of the people behind the project, said that the main focus of the park was to “reduce crime in the area, and to give the kids something positive to spend their energy on”.

The money to create the park was taken out of Section 106A, which is funded by private developers and councillors. However it was originally intended to be used to create a toddler park in the same area, rather than a skate park.

“We already had a toddler park that was built seven years ago, and it got vandalised”, said John Ogle, 47, another developer in the project.

Dave asked the children of the area which they would prefer, a skate park or a toddler park, and 80% of kids were in favour of a skate park.

“Paces Campus near Thorncliffe has been funded for what they need, so we needed to try our best to get that money up here too”, said John Ogle.

The children who wanted a skate park were also asked what they wanted to be included and helped to design the park.

“It was great that they let us design it, it really makes it more for the community”, said Megan Moxon, 17, a regular user of the park. “It’s a nice social spot too, it gives us somewhere to meet up as a group”.

Head of the Angram Bank TARA (Tenants and Residents Association), Terry Bawden, 49, also brought up that the age range of users of the park was more than they expected, “There are little kids at two years old using the park, and mixing among the older children. We never expected little ones to use it, so the fact they are is brilliant”.

Another positive effect is it seems that since the opening of the park 4 weeks ago, “Fewer crimes have been reported in the High Green area, we’ve had positive responses from local police which is great” said both John Booker, and Dave Ogle.

“I feel safe here, and all of the older children teach the younger ones how to do tricks too”, said Max Whiteley, 13, “I’ve met people here who I didn’t even know existed before which is great”.

“There are around 40 kids here a night and we’ve had little to no trouble at all, which is amazing,” said Councillor John Booker of the West Ecclesfield Ward, who helped raise funds for the project. “We expected it to be vandalised within a few days like the toddler park we already have has been, but it’s been left alone.”

The next phase of the development is to continue this success and to listen to the children and add their suggestions to finish the park off completely.

“I think that it should have lights to make it safer”, said Katie, 9 who loves using the half pipe.

“Lights and CCTV are definitely the next parts”, said David Ogle, “we don’t want the kids to feel intimidated coming here at night, and also we’d like it to make sure it deters vandalism.”

The money needed is between £6,000 to £8,000 just to tarmac the rest of the skate park ready for building, but there are high hopes amongst the community that this can be done.“Chapeltown Park has CCTV, it can be done and we can do it too”, said John Ogle.

“All I want is for the kids of the estate to be happy, and as you can see it really speaks for itself that this is working” said Terry Bawden.

To follow the development of the park, follow them on Facebook at AB Skate Park Highgreen, where updates are posted frequently of donations and new additions to the park.