A local police officer who led a project to build a brand new £150,000 skate park in Bicester has opened the gates to its first users.
PC Vicky Lees welcomed a crowd of young people to Garth Park, in Launton Road, to finally try out the new facility after it was closed in October for a complete rebuild.
Three-years-ago a new skate park was just a pipe dream, but thanks to funding from Bicester Town Council, Cherwell District Council through developer contributions, Sport England, and fund raising by skate park users, it has become a reality.
Specialist skatepark firm Freestyle designed and built the new park in collaboration with the young people who use the facility.
And last week after town council took possession of the new facility it was quickly opened for skate fans to use ahead of an official unveiling later this year.
PC Vicky Lees said: “I have received awesome feedback from the community, particularly the young people and this means everything to me. All the hard-work has paid off.
“This project has showed great community spirit and just what can be achieved by working together.”
PC Lees got involved in 2015 after reports of anti-social behaviour in the town centre, which included BMX riders and skateboarders riding in Pioneer Square.
They told her they wanted a modern skate park – the current one was in a poor state of repair – so she encouraged them to lobby councillors to back an initiative to replace the skate park.
Deputy mayor Jason Slaymaker, who has also been involved with the project since the beginning, said: “The skate park has been completely transformed and is fit for a new generation.
“The town council has really enjoyed working with PC Lees, the young people and our other partners to get this project off the ground.
“This project has been a real community effort – the young people involved are a credit to the town.
“I am looking forward to the skate park remaining a hub for young people for many years to come.”