City looks to improve community sports fields

Red Deer’s fields of play are about to get a makeover.

Red Deer’s fields of play are about to get a makeover.

City council heard last week during the capital budget debate that the city’s new strategy will build more sports fields and transform others into higher calibre and make them more functional.

Over four years, the city will spend $1.1 million to improve the play at community fields throughout Red Deer.

“In some neighbourhoods there are soccer fields that are on top of a ball diamond and none of it is very functional and nobody really uses it,” said Sarah Cockerill, the city’s director of Community Services. “It is there for spontaneous play but if there were actually a higher quality diamond or field that could be programmed or rented out, it may be a better use of space.”

Another part of the strategy involves adding sports fields to the soon-to-be developed northeast multi-high-school site. The city will spend $749,000 over four years there.

An additional $250,000 was allocated to the Red Deer Regional Catholic School Division for increased space to accommodate community access to the change rooms at the division’s planned high school on the site. This will help meet the space technical requirements to host provincial level tournaments.

The fields will be completed for the opening of the new Catholic high school in 2017.

Edgar Athletic Park will receive a $1.5 million boost over two years for upgrades to the fields and the amenities. The Red Deer City Soccer Association requested upgrades to its building and the Central Alberta Slo-Pitch Association wanted washrooms and more storage.

The soccer association has plans to build a permanent indoor field house with an international-sized soccer pitch. The location has not been determined.

Cockerill said this is a medium-term fix for the facility. She said down the road the city may develop a sports field/festival grounds northeast of River Bend. The land has not been acquired.

“All these together allow us to program our fields in a much more efficient way and a higher level of calibre of play,” she said.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

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