A decade can be a long time for some, particularly if you’ve not yet left high school.
For Amanda Tait, it was as a young primary school student that she first heard of plans to build a skate park at Berkeley.
Now, 10 years later, as the Illawarra Sports High captain embarks on her last year of school, that plan has finally become a reality.
Ms Tait and her fellow school leader, Alexander Brbevski, were among a number of students from schools in Wollongong’s southern suburbs who lent their ideas to help create the new $900,000 skate plaza, constructed in Holborn Park alongside the suburb’s new children’s playground.
Scores of families turned out on Saturday morning for the official, if somewhat soggy, opening of the new facility, with hundreds of skate-mad children lining the walls of the plaza eager to test their skills, despite the inclement weather.
While skate boards, scooters and the odd mountain bike dominated the landscape, itchy-footed children were forced to wait until the adults had finished their official speeches and thankyous before they could burn up the concrete.
Once on board however, there were plenty of skills of display, as well as a few blush-inducing spills in the slippery conditions.
The day was especially sweet for Wollongong Lord Mayor and Berkeley native Gordon Bradbery, who said the plaza had been a long time coming.
‘‘I remember having a conversation with a father outside Bi Lo years ago about what was needed for kids in Berkeley and it was this type of facility,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s been a long time in the making, but here it is.’’
The skate plaza is the fifth such facility for the Wollongong local government area, with similar parks at Unanderra, Dapto, Fairy Meadow and Helensburgh.
Northern Illawarra Skate Alliance’s Barry Strachan said the new park would be a welcome addition for the region’s skating enthusiasts, quipping he hoped another would soon be built in the Wollongong CBD.