Smiths Falls town councillors are considering naming the town’s skateboard park to honour the man who was responsible for raising the funds to build it: former Police Chief Larry Hardy, who died on April 26.
Ex-mayor Dennis Staples and former councillor Jack Traynor attended a meeting of town council’s Committee of the Whole on May 8 to propose the idea.
Staples recalled that the concept for the skateboard park began in 2004, when the local Community Policing Association hosted a public meeting to invite young people to say what they would like to see in Smiths Falls. After one meeting that failed to attract a response, the group hosted a second session and offered attendees “as much pizza as you can eat,” said Staples.
The second meeting was a success, with about 175 young people showing up. Topping the wish-list was a skateboard park. “Chief Hardy said we’re going to make that happen for you,” said Staples.
Staples and Traynor recalled that the chief spearheaded the fundraising effort to build the skateboard park, and assured municipal representatives that no money from the town would be needed.
“We wouldn’t have a skateboard park here if it wasn’t for Chief Hardy,” commented current Mayor Shawn Pankow.
“It was clearly a passion of his,” said Councillor Chris Cummings, adding that Hardy was one of the longest-serving police chiefs in Ontario.
All members of council were supportive of the proposal to name the park to honour Hardy, with Pankow suggesting that some capital funding should also be found to make some repairs and improvements.