Eltham youth are putting their weight behind a proposal to upgrade the local skate park.
Addressing the Eltham Community Board last week seeking their permission and support of the youth-run project, Stacey Foskett from Connex said the current park did not meet the needs of the young people. The group of teenagers proposes that a bowl, half pipe, spine and box be added.
Stacey says an upgraded facility will keep the young people in town (avoiding inter-town rivalries) and encourage use of the park and other nearby facilities such as the town swimming pool.
"By mucking in, the young people will take ownership."
The project is run by Connex together with Eltham's youth, heatlh and devlopment service E-town. Stacey says they are talking to designers for the best development of the site and use of money.
By building onto the existing facility, she adds, the project can be built in stages with the first the bowl.
"This has been identified by the young people as the most important addition. If designed properly, all age groups and skill levels will be able to use it," she says.
The approximate cost of the 7m by 7m bowl is $50,000.
The box, spine and half pipe will come in at another $50,000 with a third stage seeing a revamp of other existing park facilities and adding a seating area for spectators.
"Due to needing to raise funds to complete each stage, we have put an estimated time frame of a year and a half to complete the project. We are hoping to have the first stage completed by June 2013."
To show they mean business, the group on Saturday will be clearing rubbish from the walkway in the park and another working bee is planned for early next year.
Board chairman Gordon Lawson said the skate park is in an area the board would want to see developed and commended the young people for putting in "the hard yards".
"We approve the concept in principle. Be assured that the board would fully give their support."