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Skate park project a team effort

Park an 'incredibly important' place for local youth

The skate park at Joe Capillo Park opened in limited capacity on Wednesday, May 11. The park has been in development for more than three years with numerous people, groups and committees in town having a part in its construction. Back row, Nick Battista and Jordan Demers. Front, Jason Wetteland, Jeremy Regimbal, Nate Murphy, Harold Harwood and Jon Demers. (click for larger version)
May 22, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — With the skate park at Joe Capillo Park being semi-opened on Wednesday, May 11, it's been a long time coming with many people to thank.

The town's Recreation Committee and its past and present members have been integral in bringing it to life, along with Town Manager Christopher Clark and countless others. Southbridge Police Chief Daniel Charette and Fire Chief Richard Ciesla were on hand on Friday, May 13, assembling ramps.

"I've been doing this kind of stuff for years," said Charette, who helped largely in the planning stages and the construction of the park. "I helped build the Little League press box with two other guys five years ago, I was building ditches at the community center before it was a community center, I was the chairman of the local Boys and Girls Club. The bottom line is that Southbridge has two major problems: the illegal use of narcotics and juvenile delinquency. I think it's incredibly important to have positive programs and positive places for the juvenile population to go. Just lip service doesn't work."

The planning of the skate park, according to Charette, began three years ago and didn't get off the ground for quite some time due to lack of funds.

"We got a lot of the equipment from the Brimfield skate park," said Wally McKenzie, who had a large hand in creating the park. "We moved it over to the DPW area. Some of the pieces were rotted and unusable, so we are using what we have and building some more. I really can't say enough about Dan Charette. He made a promise to me that the skate park would happen and through his efforts, encouragement and labor, he made it happen. He's been faithful to his promise and to the kids in the community."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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