What does $625,000 buy you these days?
For the community of Bentley the shopping list includes roof repairs, new lighting, a zamboni, washroom fixes and new floor mats behind the benches of the aging Memorial Centre Arena.
The old barn is into its sixth decade. Built by volunteers back in the 1960s it is showing its age, according to Mayor Joan Dickau.
“We work at them as we can,” she said. “Certainly anything of a safety nature is taken care of immediately.”
The town has applied for some grant money to tackle the to-do list along with a promise of $100,000 from Lacombe County should the grant money arrive in the mail. There is also some cash in a fund developed with the community’s attempt to become Kraft Hockeyville a couple of years ago.
Dickau says the town will pony up a similar amount and things would start taking place almost immediately with the roof likely delayed until the spring as soon as the ice goes in, which is shortly.
You get the feeling speaking to the mayor any shortfall in cash would be made up by asking the town residents to kick in what they can afford.
“The arena has been a winter home to many families within this community,” she said. “This is a great community and when the need is there, they rally.”
The school is only a block away and students are able to use the arena outside of the main users like minor hockey, the figure skating club and of course the Bentley General senior AAA team.
Generals Coach Brandin Cote says the rink can be very intimidating place to play for some teams but he would welcome any upgrades.
“Not only for the Generals but also for minor hockey and other groups who use the rink,” he explained. “The hockey fans in Bentley deserve to have a rink that is upgraded.”
Town officials are very optimistic the grant money will come their way but there is a ‘plan B’ in place in case it doesn’t –either in the full amount or something lesser.
“If we don’t get the total amount and we only get a portion of it well then we will have to look at what we can do,” said Dickau.