Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By GRACE EVANS

Ebony Harper, Tom Garner, Ol­lie Aitken and Wil­low Harper are all tak­ing full ad­van­tage of the com­pleted stage one of the Euroa Skate Park Precinct, and look for­ward to see­ing what’s to come.

IT was two young boys, with an ad­mi­ra­tion for skat­ing, bmx and scoot­ing that sparked the be­gin­ning of the Avenel Multi Use Precinct.

This week, the Precinct was suc­cess­ful in their ap­pli­ca­tion for the An­drews Gov­ern­ment Pick My Project ini­tia­tive.

The com­mu­nity raised $20,000 to start Stage 1 of the project and were ask­ing for $99,500 to com­plete the precinct.

It was the per­sis­tence of Avenel lo­cals Tom Garner and Ol­lie Aitken, who many years ago were hound­ing their lo­cal ac­tion group and coun­cil for a skate park in their town.

Af­ter writ­ing a per­sua­sive piece back in his year six English class about why he be­lieved Avenel should have a skate park, Tom had hope that his let­ter could lead to some­thing.

“I use to just want to get out and ride my scooter ev­ery day but I couldn’t, so that’s why I started it,” Tom said.

“I feel like it will re­ally help young kids get out and want to be ac­tive.”

Along with the help of his fa­ther Stephen Garner and mate Ol­lie, they de­liv­ered their ini­tial pledge to the Avenel Ac­tion Group, which then saw a sub­com­mit­tee cre­ated with a spe­cific vi­sion for the park.

With a clear pas­sion for the skate park in his son, Stephen headed up the sub­com­mit­tee which took no time rais­ing funds in the com­mu­nity, through sausage siz­zles and cake stalls at the school.

Fel­low skate park ad­vo­cate Ol­lie said if you don’t play cricket, footy or ten­nis than there is noth­ing for you to re­ally do.

“Even if you’re not rid­ing you can just come down and talk to your mates it’s just a dif­fer­ent place to be so­cial which is great,” Ol­lie said.

The com­mu­nity project re­ceived 259 votes from a com­mu­nity of around 1000, and the cre­ator of the pick my project page Jeff Moran said it will be great for the younger gen­er­a­tion com­ing through.

“The pri­mary school and kinder­garten are bulging in the lower de­mo­graph­ics, you know the three four five six year olds,” Mr Moran said.

“The pri­mary school here has a huge en­rol­ment in their lower grades, so there are a lot of young kids com­ing up through the town that need a fa­cil­ity where they can just hang out, so­cialise and keep fit.”

Hughes Creek Ward Coun­cil­lor Mal­colm Lit­tle said it is very ex­cit­ing to hear Stages 2 and 3 of the Avenel multi-use ac­tiv­ity precinct have re­ceived fund­ing through the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment’s Pick My Project ini­tia­tive.

“This has been a huge com­mu­nity ef­fort and I’m so thrilled that Avenel has been re­warded for their hard work,” Cr Lit­tle said.

“The ac­tiv­ity precinct will be in a great cen­tral po­si­tion in the town and will pro­mote the so­cial and phys­i­cal well­be­ing of our ev­er­grow­ing younger de­mo­graphic.

“De­vel­op­ing this kind of key in­fra­struc­ture is vi­tal to strength­en­ing and grow­ing our com­mu­ni­ties and en­hanc­ing the re­gional liv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

The com­mu­nity youth driven precinct for skat­ing ex­er­cise and well­be­ing will be avail­able 24/7 in a safe ac­ces­si­ble all sea­son lo­ca­tion at the Avenel Recre­ation Re­serve at no cost to the users.

The rat­tling of fundrais­ing tins and sausage siz­zles will be put on hold, with Mr Garner say­ing be­cause they have been push­ing it for so many years it’s now great for other peo­ple to be able to see the value of it as well.

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