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Stourbridge skate park plan more than a pipe dream thanks to £40,000 grant
9:00am Monday 7th October 2013 in Local
AN ambitious plan to create the country's best skate park in Stourbridge is firmly on track to become reality after a £40,000 grant was secured.
Former cycling champion Gavin Pardoe's plan to turn an empty warehouse in Mill Race Lane into a new state-of-the-art facility for skaters, BMX-ers and scooter riders can now plough ahead after the project was awarded cash from Dudley Council’s community enterprise fund.
The new 22,000 square foot urban recreation centre, called Unit3sixty, aims to bring high quality BMX, skateboarding and scooter riding facilities to the town which has been without such an indoor activity base since the closure of Ramparts, based under the old Bell Street multi-storey car park.
The project, which will be run as a social enterprise, will feature a world championship standard indoor skate park with the latest ramps, rails and jumps; an intermediate level skate park for BMX-ers, skateboarders and scooter riders; and a mini balance bike course for two to five-year-olds.
It will also include a cafe and viewing gallery.
Mr Pardoe, a Stourbridge firefighter and former national time trial and road race competitor, said: “Unit3sixty will be a high profile and high quality facility that will not only be the best in the borough and the Black Country but also the best nationally.
“We will also provide an outlet for budding musicians to jam and spin DJ decks to urban street dancers while graffiti artists capture the mood and display their work about the building.”
Councillor Pete Lowe, deputy leader of the council, cabinet member for finance and Labour's prospective Parliamentary candidate for Stourbridge, said: “We are delighted to have awarded Unit3sixity £40,000, which will be used to secure initial start up costs for this exciting enterprise.
“We have listened to the views of young people who have been advocating the creation of a skatepark in the local community.
"This new social enterprise will work closely with children and young people within the community, providing them with a social focus by offering them a friendly facility to use seven days a week.”
Planning permission has yet to be granted and further funding for the £200,000 project is still being sought but Mr Pardoe is confident Unit3sixty will be able to open its doors to the public before the end of the year.
Stourbridge MP Margot James has given her backing to the project and said: “The lack of skating facilities in the local area has been an issue raised with me time and time again since the closure of Ramparts.
"In the months to come the priority will be finding the large amount of funding still needed so I will certainly be doing all I can to support this excellent initiative and the team behind it.”
To find out more about the venture visit website unit3sixty.com or facebook.com/unit3sixty
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