Metro Effect: Donated skates could find a home at Regent Park rink
A local businessman has stepped up with the offer of a $3,000 donation to cover any additional costs of setting up a skate library there.
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A shed full of donated skates sitting in Dufferin Grove Park may get used after all, thanks to the generous offer of a Toronto businessman and a lot of persistence from a local non-profit.
The Centre for Local Research into Public Space, which helped set up a successful skate library program at the Dufferin Grove rink, offered the city about 120 pairs of skates, donated by the NHL Players' Association, for a similar program at another rink this fall. But, as Metro reported, the city passed on the offer, citing the work required to manage such a program.
Since then, local businessman David Rothberg has stepped up with the offer of a $3,000 donation to cover the costs at Regent Park rink.
"People could really use those skates," said Rothberg. "It's our national sport, it's outside, it's winter."
His own son learned to skate at Dufferin Grove, where skates can be borrowed for $2, and he wants kids in Regent Park to have the same opportunity.
"You don't have to be a genius to see that something was working there," he said. "I hope the city listens."
Ward 28 councillor Lucy Troisi said she just learned of the idea late Monday and needs to meet with parks and recreation staff but is "in full support of people being able to access equipment in areas of high need."
"There's certainly an interest on our part," she said, but did not offer a timeline.
City spokesperson Jane Arbour said staff will be "considering how to use this donation" and working with the non-profit and Rothberg in the coming days to see how it would work.
Jutta Mason of The Centre for Local Research into Public Space is concerned about the lack of a concrete timeline. She's been frustrated with the process so far and was contacted by a Kitchener councillor who offered to take the skates to set up a lending program there if Toronto doesn't want them.
The skate library at Dufferin Grove helped attract more skaters and lit up the space, Mason said.
"It's the most simple thing to run a skate lending program," she added. "Setting this up would take two days or less."