Regina group grinding away to finish new skatepark for March launch

"Phase 1" of the Regina Skateboarding Coalition's new indoor skatepark project is seen in the Agribition Building. Connor O'Donovan / Global News

After more than seven years, Regina’s Evraz Place will again be host to an indoor skatepark.

“It’s been a while but something’s finally panned out. We’re very excited about it,” said Regina Skateboarding Coalition vice-president Dave Chapados, whose group worked with Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) to secure space in the temporarily-vacant Agribition Building.

The coalition ran an indoor skatepark on REAL grounds until it was demolished to make way for Mosaic Stadium in 2013.

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“This place is definitely a necessity,” Chapados added, alluding to the barriers facing the sport due to Regina’s long winters.

“I think it’ll have a big impact on the kids in the city and the older guys like myself who still love it.”

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Funding for the features being built for the first phase of the skatepark project came from reserves held since the old skatepark was in action. Dave Parsons / Global News

Chapados and his group are hard at work finishing what they’re calling the “phase one” features of the park which will include ramps, boxes and a rail. The hope is to have the park open later this month.

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To comply with health order regulations, capacity will be limited to 30 skaters who will need to wear a mask in addition to their helmet.

Admission will cost $10, and will be booked in hour and a half sessions with cleaning in between.

The park’s features are being built by Chapados as well as park “mastermind” Noel Wendt. Dave Parsons / Global News

From 1997 to 2013, the Regina Skateboarding Coalition’s original indoor skatepark occupied the Heritage Building, which stood where Mosaic Stadium stands today.

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“It was the longest-running indoor skatepark in Western Canada,” said Chapados. “We’ve been working with the city since to find a new home.”

He says that if the park proves popular, his team plans to continue adding more and more skateboarding features.

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Chapados said the original park was a haven for inner-city kids, himself included, and he says he’s excited to be able to bring that back.

“We dealt with a lot of troubled youth. You can tell they were going through some hard times, but the skatepark’s a safe, inclusive space,” he said.

He said the Regina Skateboarding Coalition is working on inclusive summer camps, pending the severity of the pandemic at the time.

The group’s lease on their current space is good until the end of April.

Chapados says his group is working with REAL and the city of Regina to find a permanent space for the park for when the pandemic ends.

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