By Darrell Cole
Amherst Daily News
AMHERST – Robert Bird remains convinced there will be an opening skate at the town’s proposed skate park sometime this summer or fall.
“I want to see some meaningful activity by May, even if it’s just preparation work. I fully expect to have an opening there this summer or fall, but it’s going to take a community effort to make that a reality,” said Bird, the Amherst town councillor responsible for the skate park project that is one of the town’s seven strategic priorites.
Supporters of a skate park in the town are holding a meeting at the Amherst Fire Department on Tuesday at 7 p.m., to discuss fundraising options to come up with the community’s share of the money needed to make the park a reality.
“We want to co-ordinate all the people who have said since we started this project that they want to help with the fundraising,” said Bird.
“A lot of that has been loosely recorded. The idea of this meeting is to get everyone together and put some ideas in place.”
Bird said there are a number of ideas being floated around as potential fundraisers including a bingo while the young people want to support the project with a giant dance, possibly at the Amherst Stadium.
"We want the people who are going to be using it to have a fair bit of ownership," Bird said.
The meeting comes within weeks of a federal announcement by Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley MP Scott Armstrong providing $133,00 in funding through the federal Recreational Infrastructure Canada program.
With the federal money in place, Bird said another $200,000, including town and provincial funding, is going to be needed to be raised. The 10,000-square-foot facility suggested by consultants LANDinc. is expected to cost about $400,000.
"We have a target of about $75,000 that has be raised by the community," Bird said. "We're looking at a title sponsor for $25,000 and we're hoping some organization or business will step up for that. We're looking at another $25,000 in other corporate and service club donations and we're hoping the grassroots fundraising will raise the rest."
There has been no word on what provincial funding may be available and the town is still in the budget process, but Bird is very optimistic construction will begin soon.