On any given day up to 100 people gather across the road from Mick Barrett's house on Groom Street, St Marys. There is a constant hum of laughter, yelling and the sound of wheels on wood.
Mr Barrett could be forgiven for finding this noise annoying, or for wanting some peace and quiet. But, at St Marys this commotion was years in the making. Mr Barrett lives across the road from St Marys skatepark.
It was finally completed late last year after campaigning from local residents and has quickly become a meeting place for people of all ages.
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"It's great," Mr Barrett said. "It has worked a hell of a lot better than anyone thought it would." Mr Barrett has lived at St Marys for nine years and is thrilled something positive has come out of all the hard work residents put in.
"Over the years I have seen quite a few skateparks and there isn't one that comes anywhere near that one. It has a bit of something for everyone," he said.
The idea for the community space started as a skatepark built on the foundation of two ramps and a variety of grind rails but quickly evolved into something more.
The final design included public workout equipment, a seating area, multiple barbeques and a swing for younger children to enjoy.
It has attracted people from right across the community. From high schoolers stopping by after school to young mothers entertaining their children throughout the day.
Even Mr Barrett's wife who gets around with the help of a mobility scooter has enjoyed the park. Mr Barrett expects his grandkids will "go mental" when they get a chance to visit the new community attraction.
With the success of the space it is easy to forget the hard work that went into getting it built. There was the usual push back claiming skateparks would attract the wrong kinds of people and continual hurdles put in place to stop the development.
St Marys Community Space Association secretary Janet Drummond said the project was driven by demand from the community.
"The kids were talking about not having anywhere to play. We have a very small children's playground up behind the library but we don't actually have anything for youth and older children," she said.
"So they were talking about wanting to have somewhere to socialise and meet with friends and meet with their family."
She said the hard work over about four-and-a-half years was absolutely worth it.
"We had monthly meetings for a while where people would bring ideas and then we would take those ideas back to the community," Mrs Drummond said.
"At every social event we had in the town we would take diagrams and drawings of what we were planning and then kids would put yellow posted notes all over it and families would stick things on there.
"From that the plans were redesigned. This is the fourth generation of the plan really."
Throughout the years of planning the community of St Marys put in about $70,000 to help fund the new space.
The project also received a $268,000 from the Tas Community Fund and other small grants from Huon Aquaculture and multiple federal funding streams.
Mrs Drummond said Break O'Day Council supplied the land for the community space in 2020, which allowed the park to get built.
She said since opening last year children could be found at the skatepark from 7:30am to 8pm when the sun goes down.
"It has really re-energised the town. Not only for the young kids and the youth but for families to have somewhere to gather," Mrs Drummond said.
"[It has] also attracted visitors to the town, putting money into the community, supporting businesses and accommodation services so that has been really positive."
Bridgit Agostonelli has also noticed the mass of people heading to the new community space. Her daughter Sofia used to spend her days skating through the streets of St Marys but now she is almost always at the skatepark.
"We barely see her anymore. When she is not at school she is at the skatepark," Mrs Agostonelli said.
"She was skating on the streets and up and down steps on public buildings.
"So, we were always a little bit worried about how safe she was but the skatepark has absolutely changed all that. It is amazing it is a fantastic construction."
Mrs Agostonelli has seen the community transform since the community space has opened up. She said it has provided a location for people, young and old, to meet up.
"Before we had the skatepark and the community space what happened, for the teenagers at least, they basically mooched around home, spent time on their computers and perhaps met up and sat around in the street," Mrs Agostonelli said.
"Now, we are finding Sofia comes home from school and say 'can I go to the skatepark?' They are actually meeting as a group at the skatepark and skating, using scooters and actually doing stuff together.
"They have very much made their own little community down there, whereas before they were a little scattered bunch of teenagers who only met up when they were at school."
Mrs Agostonelli thanked everyone who helped bring the project to fruition.
"It has really pulled everybody together. It is wonderful and it is being used by everybody," she said.
"It has changed St Marys."
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