Red Deer County is committing up to $2.1 million to help Springbrook build a large community hall.
The Springbrook Community Association hopes to build an 11,690-square-foot facility that would have seating space for 450 people and a banquet hall for 250. The facility would also include offices for community services staff and their programs, meeting rooms, and youth activity and playschool areas.
The association has already applied for a $1 million grant through the province’s Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP). To be considered for the grant, a funding commitment from the county is required. The community association is also asking the county to donate land for the project.
Springbrook is home to 1,500 people and is the fastest-growing community in the county. The number of residents increased 42 per cent between 2011-21, double the provincial average, said county community services manager Jo-Ann Symington.
“Continued development is occurring regularly, with industrial, commercial and airport expansions underway at this time,” said Symington.
Despite its growth, Springbrook has little in the way of facilities. Community programs are run out of rented space and the hamlet has no post office, schools or community gathering spaces. The former CFB Penhold buildings on site are privately owned and have no kitchens, nor are they barrier-free accessible.
The community hall project is expected to be built in phases and could cost up to $6 million.
Local supporters intend to seek other grants, fundraise and pursue sponsorships to ensure the project goes ahead.
Coun. Dana Depalme said unlike many county communities Springbrook does not have any halls.
“This is a great way to help the residents of Springbrook come together as a community and have services provided.”
County residents in some of the new residential areas outside Springbrook, such as those being developed at Gasoline Alley, could also use the facility, said Coun. Lonny Kennett.
“There a quite a lot of people I could see using this facility.”
Coun. Connie Huelsman said Springbrook was a “growing, thriving community. This is what we want in Red Deer County.”
Mayor Jim Wood said community halls are important.
“I always look at our community halls are the hearts of each community. They provide so many different functions.”
Whether a 250-seat banquet hall would prove big enough was questioned.
Wood said it is important not to scale down the project just to save money. “We have one shot at this to get it right.”
“I think we have to ensure that we are in fact building for the needs of this community and it is not too small or too big.”
The community association expects to hear by the end of the year whether its provincial grant application is successful. The county will also work out the details on whether its support will involve a grant, loan or combination.