The north end of Red Deer is well on its way to opening a new community centre after City officials held a sod-turning ceremony near Glendale School of Sciences and Technology.
The $9.1 million facility is scheduled to open in mid-2019, after initially being scheduled to open this year but was ultimately delayed due to budget concerns and the need for further public consultation.
“We are on budget,” Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said. “There were some delays to ensure we were on budget and part of the time delay was that we wanted to get this project right and that required substantive public consultation.
“There has been public consultation over the years and that was part of the time delay, but thankfully that time delay is over and we mark the beginning of construction on this day.”
Veer said the development of this community centre was made with the extensive help of Red Deer residents, particularly the residents of north Red Deer whom the facility will predominantly serve.
“Over the years, as we consulted with the public and the neighbourhoods in north Red Deer, it was recognized there was a scope and a bigger vision for what the north neighbourhoods really needed,” Veer said. “I think the most exciting part of this project is that it was ultimately envisioned and developed by the people of Red Deer.”
The project is part of the City’s vision to create community-oriented neighbourhoods.
“Over time, there have been fewer and fewer community centres in Red Deer and we recognize that for us to have strong community associations and neighbours, we need community centres,” Veer said.
In the past, Red Deer subdivisions were all designed with a community centre planned.
The operation of these facilities became cost-prohibitive and they were ultimately phased out.
“The pendulum swung too far the other way and we had eras of development where there were no community centres,” Veer said. “We see the consequences of that in the fact that those neighbourhoods did not necessarily develop neighbourhood life or community associations.”
While not covering a single subdivision, the new north end community centre will cover four to five subdivisions in the area.
“This project really does signal the new approach,” Veer said.
“As we look to the future, I think it will be the model and template we will follow for future growth and development in the community.”
The new facility will feature a gathering space, bookable space, spaces for direct programming through the Red Deer Parks and Culture department and community organizations will also have the opportunity to partner with the City to offer their own programming.
“The connection with the school and the skateboard park also present us with some opportunities that no other site in Red Deer does,” Veer said.
The facility, which is currently labelled as the Northside Community Centre, will ultimately be named after the winner of the City’s naming rights campaign.
“Once that is secured, (we will be) announcing to the community those naming rights in the future,” she said. “It is important for us to secure those sponsorship naming rights because it gives back to the taxpayer who ultimately makes these types of projects possible.”
More information can be found at City’s website.