A co-ordinated effort is underway to boost recreation and culture for the estimated 20,000 residents living on the northwest side of Red Deer.
The Aspen Heights/Normandeau Community Enhancement Association, with the help of the City of Red Deer and the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association, is working on ways to enhance recreation, parks, arts, culture and heritage in the area.
Pauline Mousseau, community and program facilitator for the city, said there’s a strong community desire to revitalize the area northwest of 67th Street.
“This could potentially impact how they view themselves,” Mousseau said on Friday. “The north of Red Deer is seen as an area lacking in amenities. This could really be positive for them.”
Five neighbourhoods would benefit from improvements — Aspen Heights/Normandeau, Glendale, Kentwood, Johnstone Crossing and Johnstone Park. Within this area exists one small community activity centre on the Normandeau Central Park site at 49 Noble Avenue. The centre has been earmarked for renovation in 2011.
Mousseau said the community may wish to the move the centre, hidden by trees, to a better location on the site.
But there’s also talk of building a new multi-purpose community centre to serve the entire region.
Community input is being sought through www.vitalizereddeer.ca. on how to improve the park site. The area also includes sports fields which are described as being of lower quality.
Also being considered is more trails to connect the neighbourhoods.
The potential is so great, Mousseau said, because there are community leaders devoted to the revitalization project.
After a 14-year hiatus, the Aspen Heights/Normandeau Community Association was recently revived. Aspen Heights is a historical name for part of Normandeau, near Aspen Heights School.
Among those championing the cause is neighbourhood association president Gillian Kingston. Her efforts to make a difference have not gone unheeded.
Recently, the city applied for up to $10,000 in dollars and up to $45,000 in in-kind support over a two-year period towards leadership training.
On Monday, city council will receive a report for information on the Alberta Recreation and Parks Association’s Active, Creative, Engaged Communities (ACE) program benefitting Kingston and others. This program aims to support local community leaders, who in turn will involve more citizens in making their community a better place to live, work and play.
Mousseau said the city has since learned it will receive up to $5,000 in-kind support. She was not disappointed with the results because other funding is available.