Saint John — A bold new design to turn Saint John’s Loyalist Plaza into a skatepark has been met with positive feedback from local residents.
“This is amazing,” said Duncan Smith, amateur skateboarder and uptown resident, “since right now it’s really hard to rip sick tricks off the lips in the circle. With these wicked ramps, I’ll be able to do backsides and ollies no problem.”
An excited intern of the mayor’s office, Jimmy Nolan, announced the plans at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Nolan detailed a comprehensive redesign of Loyalist Plaza including new cement barriers, stairs down to the water and extending the Harbour Passage (also known as Skateboarders’ Highway) all the way to Market Square. “We really think that by updating this area, we can drive tourism in the younger demographic,” said Nolan. “And this is an area that we’ve really lagged in as a city.”
Mayor Mel Norton echoed Nolan’s sentiments: “We know that if we can get the younger generation hooked on coming to Saint John, then we should have a solid revenue stream over the next 30 to 40 years.”
Although the population of New Brunswick is in decline, there is a large, young and unemployed demographic to whom Norton really wishes to appeal. “I’m not saying that the next Sean White or Tony Hawk will be coming from here, but it’s certainly worth a try,” said the mayor.
However, not all uptown residents are happy with the new design. “I don’t know,” said Jane McGillicud, “while it’s great that the kids will have another place to skateboard, it’s kind of amateur, you know? There are no half-pipes, snake runs or pyramids in what I’ve seen so far. If the city is really serious about this plan, they need to get it right. It’s just typical Saint John — making some decision without fully thinking it through.”
The park is expected to cost upwards of $9 million and should be completed by summer 2017.