"Bike course rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire."
Riders, local volunteers and Toronto Crime Stoppers have teamed up to rebuild the city's public BMX park, two months after it was destroyed by flames.
Contractors who had read about the story in the newspaper also came by to volunteer their time, helping the kids to rebuild and teaching them a thing or two about wood working. Crime Stoppers pitched in more than $1,000 for the reconstruction of the wooden ramps and to help break the barriers between police and the youth at the park."I've learned how to work with and deal with people you wouldn't think would be a good influence," said Mark Battison, 17, who led the reconstruction of the Wallace Emerson BMX Park, near the corner of Dufferin and Dupont Street. Battison's "second home" that gives him "something to do in between homework" was nearly destroyed by fire Easter weekend. But the community and bikers helped to rebuild the park.
Wallace Emerson BMX Park after the fire.
"The kids were coming on their own, and the kept working away at it and got it done," said Toronto Police Const. Scott Mills. "That's what it's about, everybody working on the same page together. It's a great way for these kids to do positive, good things, and at the same time enjoy themselves."
Mike Heaton, 59, who was responsible for bringing the freestyle ramps he works on for the Toronto International Bicycle Show to the park last year, contributed almost $7,000 of his own money.
The grand opening of the BMX Jam was almost 2 weeks ago. It brought over 50 cyclists together for freestyling competitions and to celebrate the restoration of the park. It was "an opportunity to do legal graffiti and have it showcased," said Kenre "Bubblz" Browne, who got involved spray-painting the art-covered ramps through a Crime Stoppers posting.