Penhold campaigns for park aid

First came the splash park two years ago. Next came a $23-million recreation and culture complex and ice rink opened this summer.

First came the splash park two years ago.

Next came a $23-million recreation and culture complex and ice rink opened this summer.

Now, the Town of Penhold has a new project in mind — a skate park.

But with a population of only 2,300, the town is already stretching its finances, so the community has set its sights on winning a funding competition organized by Aviva Insurance, said Leanne Worr, the town’s recreation and events co-ordinator.

The Penhold and District Optimist Club is carrying the community’s banner in the contest to be chosen for funding worth between $100,000 and $500,000. There are also categories for projects under $25,000 or between $25,000 and $100,000.

To qualify, the town must get enough votes to finish in the top 10 communities and be guaranteed a spot in the semifinals. Each of the projects will then be judged on their merits and winners in three funding categories will be announced on Jan. 25. If all of the $1 million is not used up by the first three winners, money is doled out to the next highest scoring projects.

Penhold is sitting 25th out of 237 proposals in its category with 442 votes. It is the only Central Alberta project on the Aviva site.

As part of its application, the community put together a short video showing local skateboarders and BMX riders making do with local steps and ramps because of the lack of a proper skate park.

“I’m calling to just ask for some help really,” said Worr. “It’s a great idea. It sparks community spirit and a whole bunch of other things I absolutely agree with.” Without funding support, a skate park will be years down the road for the community.

Worr is enthusiastic about the community’s chances of winning a place. Blackfalds made 10th spot in a similar funding contest organized by Pepsi Co. last year and she doesn’t see why Penhold can’t see the same kind of success.

The community has until Oct. 15 to get as many online votes as possible. Worr has already been getting the word out, and spent time at a local school on Thursday beating the drum of support.

To vote, go to www.avivacommunityfund.org

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com