The Barrington Leisure Park Association is now the proud owner of just over one acre of land in the center of the Barrington Passage business district.
The land, donated in memory of Mario R. Cormier, was once the site of the Victoria Hotel. Besides frontage on Highway 3, the property borders on the Barrington Passage multi-use trail at the rear.
To say the youth who are involved with the Barrington Leisure Park Association were excited to see the land for the first time on Nov. 21 wold be an understatement.
“I’m really proud we finally got a space and a good start on a skatepark,” said Ethan Brannen. “We tried to raise awareness about it three years ago but it didn’t go anywhere. Now we’ve got more kids in an area who want to scooter and skateboard.”
Wanan Blackburn said when he moved to the area five years ago he was surprised there wasn't a skatepark, which meant he has had to travel to Liverpool or Bridgewater to pursue his sport.
“It will be really nice to get one here,” he said.
Marcus Stevens said when he moved to the area he was “quite disappointed” about the absence of a skatepark, but now that one is going to be built, “I’m quite grateful,” he said.
“It’s exciting,” said Ethan Stoddard, who has been riding action sports such as BMX bikes, skateboards and scooters for probably about eight years but never had anywhere to ride.
"Now we actually got a place to ride and nobody can kick me out," Stoddard said.
Formed last year, the Barrington Leisure Park Association ramped up its efforts this summer to bring an outdoor leisure park to reality.
“The committees have worked hard and are willing to continue to work hard,” said Evelyn Brannen, spokeswoman for the association.
“The public seems very much on board,” which is encouraging, Brannen said.
“This will not only be a skate park and scooter park for the children, it's going to be a leisure park that adults can come to,” said Brannen, pointing out the large number of mature trees on the lot.
“Look how close we are to everything. People can shop locally. We’re a blooming little community and this is going to come to fruition. We know it. With the youth behind us how can we go wrong?”
The next steps for the association are continued fundraising efforts and clearing the overgrowth from the lot, which has been vacant for a number of years.
Brannen said the association will be putting donations containers with their logo in about 30 businesses throughout the community between Dec. 1 and 14.
“We’re expecting a few loonies and toonies,” she said.
The youth, with adult supervision, are going to head up the volunteer effort this winter to clear some of the land.
“The next thing is to open it up a little bit, clean it up, clear it out and see what we got to work with,” said volunteer Dan Dennis. “I’m hoping to get a tractor in here to clear it out.”
Dennis is the association’s liaison with Newline Skateparks, who will be designing the park. He said soon there will be a billboard at the front of the property showing a 3D rendering of what the park will look like as well as track the progress of the project.
Brannen said they are hoping to break ground by the spring.
“We are going to do something by spring,” she said. “I don’t know how major it will be but we will have a park of some sort.”
In the meantime, plans are in the works to launch a major fundraiser in 2020 to support the development of the park. Krista Kenney, who is the fundraising lead for the association, said if anyone has some fundraising ideas they would like to share, would like to make a donation, or “who want to help us with anything at all” they can contact her at 902-635-0409.
Brannen said the association is very appreciative of the support they’ve received so far from the public as well as the Municipality of Barrington, saying, “I can’t say enough about support we have received."