Excitement for northside centre grows

Residents hope a northside community centre will be welcoming to a wide range of recreational, sport and cultural users, says a City of Red Deer official.

Residents hope a northside community centre will be welcoming to a wide range of recreational, sport and cultural users, says a City of Red Deer official.

Pauline Mousseau, neighbourhood community development co-ordinator, said people want to make sure the Northside Regional Community Centre is inviting to all.

“It truly has to be embraced by the community,” said Mousseau.

The city has been looking into developing a northside community centre for several years as a way to provide more opportunities for residents to come together.

One of the few community centres on the city’s north side is next to Normandeau School. It is basically a skate shelter and where the Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer and District holds programs.

This new community complex would be a lot bigger, at about 30,000 square feet. It would be built on city-owned land on the corner of Taylor Drive and 77th Street. This site is where a skateboard park is being constructed and expected to be done by May. This land is also next to Glendale School.

The city is talking with Red Deer Public School District about possibly connecting it with the school, Mousseau added.

Focus groups are excited the centre will have multi purposes, she added.

“It will be adequate for different needs — a place to hangout but also a gathering place for sports, recreation and cultural events.”

Mousseau said a group, Friends of the Northside Regional Community Centre, is being formed so the community can get enthused about the project even before it gets built. The city hopes to get construction going in 2014.

There’s still a lot of work yet to do before that. Public consultation is nearing completion.

Last week, the city hosted a community chili dinner so that residents could give their own ideas on what they wanted this community centre to be.

“This will help refine a concept plan for the building,” said Mousseau.

That concept plan will come forward to the public next spring. Next year as well, the city will do further design planning as well as traffic impact studies.

“Another key point is how it will be operated,” said Mousseau. “The city will very likely have a presence, but the opportunity is there for the community to be involved as well.”

The city will look for corporate dollars, community fundraising and government grants. Early estimates have pegged construction costs at $3 million.

The city approved $131,000 towards planning in 2011, then $193,000 in 2012, which included some work to enhance the recreational site at Normandeau. City council has so far earmarked $1.273 million in 2014, said Mousseau.

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