The campaign by Yorkton residents to build a skateboard park on Brodie Avenue continues to pay off for the city.
In January, months of rallying support for the idea culminated in the awarding of a $150,000 donation toward the project from the Aviva Community Fund, a national contest offering funds for positive community initiatives.
Now, the project has earned the City of Yorkton two 2012 Saskatchewan Municipal Awards: the Community Life Enrichment Award and a special Judges’ Award.
The Saskatchewan Municipal Awards recognize “excellent and innovative” practices and initiatives by Saskatchewan municipalities.
The City of Yorkton’s Community Development, Parks & Recreation department submitted a nomination for the Aviva Project into the Community Life Enrichment category: a new feature at this year’s awards for projects that enhance the quality of life in a community.
The skate park campaign was a perfect fit, said Lisa Washington, the city’s community development manager.
“It completely engaged the younger people, the older people, the community pride aspect.”
A video recapping the project made by Fishbowl Productions was submitted with the nomination and shown at the awards ceremony in Regina on May 11.
“It kind of brings a tear to your eye, almost. It was so heartfelt,” said Dave Nussbaumer, one of the founders of the skate park campaign. “When you watched the video, everyone saw the sincerity of what we went through and were part of, and you could see why they picked the project.”
After receiving the Community Life Enrichment Award, the campaign organizers were in for a surprise. It was announced that the Yorkton project was to receive the Judges’ Award: a rare honor bestowed on a municipality whose practice the selection committee found to be deserving of particular recognition. The award, which is issued at the committee’s discretion and without any nomination process, has been given out just three times in the Saskatchewan Municipal Awards’ seven-year history.
Nathan Grayston, vice chair of the Yorkton Skateboard Association, was moved by both awards.
“It was really amazing just to be recognized for it,” he said. “We obviously weren’t out to win an award when we started this thing, but it’s cool just to get that recognition from the province and get a pat on the back from other people who are doing important things as well.”