An indoor play space similar to Blackfalds’ Abbey Centre is being considered for the planned North Red Deer Regional Community Centre.
The issue came up during the 2015 capital budget deliberations last week. City council allocated $8.8 million to move the long awaited project forward.
Sarah Cockerill, the city’s Community Services director, said an indoor play space, similar to the one at the Abbey Centre in Blackfalds, ranked No. 15 in the recently concluded community amenities project.
She said this is an amenity that the City of Red Deer does not have anywhere.
“This is an opportunity to have it in North Red Deer where our demographics suggest an indoor play space at little or marginal costs depending on how we decide we are going to operate the building would be a great spot for it,” she said.
Coun. Tanya Handley asked about the operations and the costs of running the facility and the cost to users during the budget debate. She was concerned about fees that may be out of reach for some families.
Cockerill said it is too early to say because these details have not been flushed out. She said the city wants to work with community groups about possible partnerships and sponsorships.
This year, the city will determine which amenities will be built in the new facility, next to the Glendale skatepark. Residents have already offered a number of ideas, including space for meetings and celebrations, community kitchen and a child care facility.
Some councillors wondered if a pool could be built at the site.
Cockerill said there would not be enough room for a pool to be added to the planned facility on the site.
The detailed architectural drawings will also be completed in 2015 in order to move to tender in 2016. If all goes well, the centre will be open in late 2017. Cockerill said they have the operational dollars in the budget for 2017, if the city operates the facility.
Coun. Frank Wong, a vocal advocate for North Red Deer, said this community project is good news for the north.