A vision created many years ago was realized today in Beamsville as officials cut the ribbon on Lincoln’s new skateboard park and pump track, especially for two young men who helped make it happen.
“This project goes back to 1999, and the town of Lincoln council, developing a strategic plan that looked at leisure services, and how we could participate more in organized sports to bring people together,” Mike Kirkopoulos, Lincoln’s Chief Administrative Officer, told a socially distanced crowd of dignitaries, excited children, and their parents.
“Fast forward to where we are now…a group of interested youth and adults came together to discuss how we could turn the vision of a skatepark into a reality. You are going to hear from a number of them today,” he said.
When Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton took to the stage she inspired the crowd with the story of how a 15-year-old with a dream made the skatepark and pump track happen. “This is how you get things done in your hometown…you come when you’re 15, and you say to the mayor ‘I want a skatepark’ right Trevor Donegan?” said Easton.
Today Donegan is 21 years old. “Trevor went out and raised money,” said Easton. “$200 at a time…it took a long time.”
Donegan wasn’t the only one with a dream. Adrian Pennachetti, another young tenascious man, had one too. As the skateboard park was being designed he came to Easton with his own request: What about a pump track too? A pump track is a course for BMX sport bikes.
“He said ‘Mayor you have to have one of these’… and so he worked (on the project) as well,” said Easton. The two young tenacious residents “taught us that kids deserve more in this community and that a skateboard park and a pump track will keep kids busy for many years.”
Both Donegan and Pennachetti had their turn at the microphone too. The resounding message was that by taking action, working with community members, and persevering, dreams do come true.
“This day and this moment is something I’ve been dreaming about since I moved to Beamsville when I was about five years old…it’s truly a dream come true. To finally be here is a feeling that is almost unexplainable,” said Donegan.
Pennachetti told the crowd that the new facility could inspire an Olympian. “BMX racing has been in the Olympics since 2008. I hope to see a young Olympian come out of this area at some point,” he said. Skateboarding, as will make its debut at the Olympics Games in Tokyo in 2021.
Former Lincoln resident Phil Davis, a Mohawk of the Six Nations, discussed the historical importance of the ground where the new skateboard park and pump track now sit. “Five thousand years ago this would have been the beach because this is where the lake used to be,” said Davis. “It’s nice to see prosperity and new (projects) coming to fruition, especially for the kids…we do whatever we can to make the future better for the next generations.”
The thanksgiving address was made to mark the importance of the moment. “We give greetings, love and respect for our mother the earth, where human beings dwell,” said Davis in both Mohawk and English.
The site where the skateboard park and pump track is territory once owned by Indigineous peoples. “The territory is covered by Upper Canada treaties and is land protected by an official agreement. Acknowledging this reminds us that our great standard of living is directly related to the resources and friendships of our Indigenous people,” Kirkopoulos told the crowd.
Niagara West MP Dean Allison and MPP Sam Oosterhoff were also in attendence. “Thank you for all the leg work and advocation for this park. It’s taken years for this to happen…thank you to all our sponsors, in particular Rotary. You guys do great things in our community,” said Allison.
Oosterhoff emphasized the commitment the Rotary Club brought to the project. “I know this is going to be fantastic…Congratulations and thank you again to the team at Rotary…you guys are the little organization that could. As you see around us today, you really can,” he said.
Two official ribbons were cut by Easton, one at the skateboard park and one at and pump track. Then a commemorative sign was unveiled.
Fay Ebert, Canada’s top ranked female park skateboarder and 2021 Olympian hopeful, closed out the ceremony. In 2019, at only nine-years-old, Ebert podiumed at two big Canadian contests. In 2020, she she won silver and bronze at national competitions. Ebert has been labeled a prodigy and natural talent by admirers.
Ebert took to her skateboard and dazzled the crowd with sequences of ollies, kick turns, flips and more, then she was joined by the waiting kids.
The skatepark and pump track is located at 5020 Serena Dr., Lincoln.