Some of the board members and volunteers with the Lacombe Athletic Park Association have been at this fundraising effort for ME Global Athletic Park for eight years now and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The first three phases are done with the field turf in, the lights up and the field house finished off but the final piece of this puzzle would be a rubber surfaced, eight-lane track surrounding the field.
The capital fundraising goal to get that done is pegged at $1.2 million and it would expand the use of the very busy facility.
“I think it allows for all the schools in the community whether it’s public, Catholic or Christian schools to be able to come and use a place like this all the time,” said Darren Gagnon, chair of the L.A.P.A. about the need for a track.
In addition to those groups he figures track and field groups, along with similar outfits, could use this as a start and finish point for marathons and triathlons.
There is no doubt the facility is being used as Gagnon pointed to a previous weekend where there were eight Atom football teams there in the morning, followed by a Peewee and Bantam game in the afternoon and he estimates about 900 people from around Central Alberta were down at the park with many visiting local businesses around town.
The mere presence of the park has even drawn increased interest in another sport.
“This past summer we had field lacrosse start up,” he said. “They wanted to start one team of about 15 kids and they ended up having about 45 kids and a lot of it had to do with the facility they were able to use.”
The group is currently about $1 million short of the goal for the track but Gagnon figures there is a real appetite within the community to make this work as evidenced by the cooperation between the County, City, school board and so many private businesses which have brought the park to this level.
“We’ve worked together very well. We’ve raised the money. We’ve done everything that’s needed to put this here and provide it to the community without it being a large cost for the user groups,” he said. “But there is still a great interest in seeing it completed from our stakeholders, from the corporate community, from the fundraisers.”