A new Maple Ridge bike park will be named for a local man who was killed during the shooting rampage in Las Vegas in 2017.
Jordan McIldoon, 23, died in the attack when a gunman shot into a crowd of 22,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest music festival.
The heavy duty mechanic had graduated from Thomas Haney secondary, and as a teen had loved outdoor sports, including downhill mountain biking and BMX racing, his mother told council on April 26.
Council heard the proposal for the Jordan McIldoon Memorial Pike Park, and his mother Angela McIldoon said her family has had amazing support from the community, and want to pay it back.
“When Jordan was killed, we had a choice –we could respond and be bitter or angry, or we could focus on the good, and helping others, and leaving a legacy,” she said in a sometimes emotional presentation.
“You lose your only child, and the worst part is that you think people are going to forget about him. But this park will help his legacy to live forever, so we are very very grateful for that, for that opportunity to donate this to the community.”
She and husband Allan moved to Maple Ridge 36 years ago, and she told council a bit about her late son.
“He grew up on our acreage, every inch a country boy and always outside,” she said. “He was big into biking from when he could walk. He would build bikes from the frame up. They were always in my living room, to my horror.”
She and Allen would load Jordan, his friends and their bikes into a truck and drive to other communities, as far as Whistler, for bike parks.
“Or they would be building rogue parks themselves, in the forests,” she said, noting there was just nowhere to go locally.
So the family decided to build a memorial bike park in collaboration with the city and a bike park designer. They chose Blaney Hamlet park, and the facility will be alongside the Silver Valley Gathering Place Park. It will be designed to accommodate cyclists of all levels and abilities.
“For that neighbourhood, and this area, it’s just going to be such a beautiful addition,” she said. “The Silver Valley Gathering Place is going to be one big, beautiful place altogether.”
The family has created the Jordan McIldoon Memorial Bike Park fund, with capital to help build the park, through the Maple Ridge Community Foundation. They will also establish the McIldoon Family Foundation Fund to sponsor kids who are not able to purchase bikes, and pay for activities such as bike camps.
Donations are being accepted from local businesses, friends and family and private donors. The city has donated the land, and committed to maintenance. Jay Hoots has donated his time as a bike park designer, and UBC research forest and the Gallant Enterprises Sawmills will donate all wood and timber for features. There have also been other in-kind donations of equipment and materials, and Canadian Tire has also donated $50,000 through its Jumpstart Program.
Coun. Chelsa Meadus compared the bike park to the legacy left by the family of the late Greg Moore. The race car driver died in a crash on 1999, and his family established the Greg Moore Youth Centre.
“Being someone who worked there in the past, I can tell you that centre has brought so much meaning to generations of youth over time in this community. It’s really been a place of sanctuary for them, and I suspect this bike park will offer the same opportunities for recreation, and connection and community….” said Meadus. “Thank you for putting your heart and soul into it, for a place that will stay forever in the community.”
“Heartfelt condolences and sympathies for your loss,” said Coun. Ahmed Yousef. “I know that there are no words that can ever offer you comfort, however, with this park I believe that you will be honouring Jordan’s legacy for many years to come, for many generations to come.”
A 64-year-old Nevada man, opened fire on the crowd at the festival from his room high above, on the Mandalay Bay Hotel’s 32nd floor. McIldoon was among 60 people who were killed, and another 411 were wounded. The shooter then shot himself, after the deadliest individual mass shooting in U.S. history.
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