Red Deerians living on the north side of the city are about a year away from having a new place for recreation.
Residents and members of council gathered at 6391 76 Street for a sod turning ceremony for the northside community centre Tuesday morning.
The $9.1-million facility, next to the Glendale Skate Park and the Glendale School of Sciences and Technology, is expected to open in mid-2019.
Mayor Tara Veer said when the city consulted with the public, council recognized people in North Red Deer had a big vision for the project. She said community centres are essential for neighbours to build community life with each other.
“The northside community centre was designed by Red Deerians for Red Deerians with particularly strong input from the residents of North Red Deer that it will predominantly serve,” said Veer.
“For us to have strong community association and neighbours, we need community centres.”
Veer said the building was initially planned to open this year, but construction was delayed to ensure the project stays on budget and undergo community consultation.
The city will actively seek naming rights for the facility, she added.
Construction crews have been on site for about two weeks.
Shelley Gagnon, recreation, parks and culture manager, said the facility will be a multi-purpose gathering space for youth, children and families.
“There are a number of different spaces,” said Gagnon. “Whatever is happening in the area, we can do. There’s a little bit of something for everyone.”
There will be spaces for arts, culture, fitness and even a teaching kitchen. The city will provide programming and the amenities will also be available for drop-in public use and bookings for special events and community gatherings.
Gagnon said each area isn’t meant to be used for just one thing.
“The gathering area, for example, is also a gymnasium. We can do basketball, badminton, pickleball or whatever you want to do from a sport or recreation perspective. But it converts very well to an area for weddings or performances,” she said.
An entrance and exit will be constructed on 77 Street, which will improve traffic flow for the Glendale neighbourhood – the school’s playground has been relocated to accommodate this.