Construction work on what is being touted as the “best skate park in the South West” began this week in Bridgetown. The first stage of the $650,000 Youth Precinct upgrade started on Monday, with the major project including improvements to the existing skate park, as well as the addition of a new skating bowl, pump track and basketball surface and hoop. John Nicholas, who was Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire president when he spoke to the Manjimup-Bridgetown Times ahead of stepping down, said redevelopments would significantly improve the “dilapidated” structure and give children and young people in the town something to brag about. “We are of the belief that this is as good a product that you can find anywhere in the South West,” he said. “I think it will give them a great opportunity to put them at the top of the heap for a little while. “I think it will be a great boon for the town in terms of places for the kids to actually spend some time and, you know, because it is new it will have that lustre about it that kids will really, really love and I think it will get an absolute hammering over the next little while, once it is finished.” The plans for an upgrade to the local Youth Precinct began over two years ago when the Shire hosted community workshops with groups of children in the town, asking what they would like to see done with the area. Mr Nicholas said this community-based discussion process led to a list of priorities being listed for the redevelopments and was a “perfect example” of how a Shire and a community worked together towards a common goal. The upgrades are a part of the Shire’s growth strategy, with phase one of the project expected to be completed early next year. With the facility closed until works are completed, Mr Nicholas said the Shire was trying to organise transport for Bridgetown skaters to travel to the Boyup Brook, Manjimup and Nannup skate parks. The project is being funded by the Federal Government ($460,000) with the remainder from the Shire.