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Shovels in the ground as construction of all-wheel park in North Bay begins

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Construction on the downtown waterfront all-wheel park is underway in North Bay.

The skate park will be near the North Bay transit depot behind the new basketball court. It’s another addition to the growing downtown waterfront revitalization plan.

For Melanie Diebel and her children, it’s exciting news.

 “We were practicing in the driveway,” Diebel said.

“Scootering and skateboarding up the driveway. Practising without training wheels.”

Following three public workshops and online surveys, a final design was nailed down to build the park.

Barry Klus, owner of Cheapskates Bicycle Shop, said his brother-in-law had this vision 30 years ago.

“Steve opened Cheapskates back in ‘92 and in the early ‘90s, they really lobbied for a skate park and they've still got the designs that they put together.”

The park will cost $1.8 million, with the province chipping in $800,000 through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund. The Kiwanis Club is donating an additional $100,000.

“To have a complex like they're building right now is second to none. I mean, I've been in on all of the design workshops and ... these guys know what they're doing,” said Kiwanis president Justin Wigelius.

Led by New Line Skateparks Inc., the park will feature a plaza-style concrete skate park, a pump track, a plaza and container washrooms.

The entire park will be accessible and include seating areas, lighting and landscaping.

“We had temporary skate parks all over the city at different locations,” said Mayor Peter Chirico.

“Now it's going to be centralized … We need to provide amenities for all of our kids, not just one group or the other group. And this will do that.”

Klus has seen a resurgence in BMXing and especially skateboarding since its introduction at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

“A lot of people go elsewhere for skate parks now close to us,” he said.

“You're going to see the fact that it's going to reverse. We're going to see a lot of people coming to North Bay.”

The park is scheduled to open by late fall. Diebel said she can see it being a hit, grinding out a groovy boarding comeback.

“Sometimes things are expensive and this is free and it's just down the street for us, so it's going to be great,” she said.

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