Oriole Park community park gets money… local non-profit has to pay back money

Red Deer City Council talks about grants on Monday

There was good and bad news out of grant discussions by Red Deer City Council on Monday.

On the more difficult side, the majority of City Council reluctantly opposed a request by Family Services of Central Alberta to forgive a city loan of $32,800.

The organization had received a loan of $43,200 in 1992 and only managed to pay back a portion, leaving the outstanding amount. The money was meant to tide the non-profit over only until it received funding for its operating budget from the province.

Although the organization had asked the city to forgive the loan because of its “vulnerable” financial situation, most councillors decided it would set a bad precedent, and effectively penalize other non-profits that had struggled to successfully pay back city loans.

Since its local children’s programs won’t be affected by the loan repayment, Family Services will be asked to work out a repayment plan according to its ability.

(Councillors Buck Buchanan, Ken Johnston and Dianne Wyntjes voted against making the group come up with the money. And Tanya Handley didn’t vote because of a conflict of interest).

On the brighter side, the city’s Recreation Parks and Culture department received a $25,000 grant from the CN EcoConnexions program to green-up former rail land south of Oriole Park.

A park area will be reforested east of Ohio Close, north of Kerry Wood Drive, and south of Otterbury Avenue. The four-acre long parcel already has two playgrounds. It is slated for urban forest expansion and naturalization, including the planting of 400 native trees and 150 native shrubs.

The Oriole Park Community Association and Re-Think Red Deer support the project.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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