Eckville Recreation Board is looking to the near future with plans for a outdoor multipurpose facility.
The Recreation Board has been looking at this project for a number of years, and decided now, with an increased need for unstructured outdoor recreation, is the perfect time to move ahead.
Jodi Oslund, director of the recreation board, says the project has been in the books for at least three years.
“The Recreation Board has wanted to create this new multipurpose facility for at least three years, but decided to wait until the new playground project was completed,” said Oslund.
She said they decided to wait to begin the project as the board did not want to inundate the community with another huge fundraising project while another was ongoing.
The plan is to build a new outdoor facility by the Friendship Centre. This new build will be used as a skating rink in the winter and for activities such as pickleball and basketball in the summer.
The build is planned to be “larger and flashier” than the current outdoor rink in town, and will include lights for evening and nighttime use.
“During COVID-19 especially, we have seen a demand for outdoor unstructured physical activities. So now more than ever, we feel this is an important project for our community,” said Oslund.
The skating rink in Eckville is widely used by the community, and this winter in particular it has been a popular spot of locals.
Oslund says there have been times where the skating rink has been over capacity.
“With the new facility that won’t really be a problem because we are planning for it to be much bigger than the current rink.”
Oslund calls it a giant project, which comes with a hefty price tag. The Recreation Board is estimating it will cost upwards of $350,000 to build the outdoor multipurpose facility.
The goal is to raise the money through grants and community fundraising.
The first fundraiser for the new outdoor facility, a 50/50 draw, is currently underway.
“Once we get started we have about two years to complete the project… Some of the grants we are applying to have a deadline for how long a project can take,” explained Oslund.
The 50/50 draw is being held online, as in-person fundraising events cannot be held right now due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Tickets for the draw can be purchased at www.rafflebox.ca and they cost $10 for one ticket, $20 for three tickets, $50 for 10 tickets and $100 for 30 tickets.
Tickets can be purchased until March 1, with the winner being drawn on March 7.
“We felt like a 50/50 draw was a good first fundraiser, because times are tough right now and it is something that could help someone out while also raising money for the facility,” said Oslund.
More fundraisers are being planned for later in the year.
“Really this is something that will benefit the entire community. It will bring a lot of opportunities for people to get outside and stay active without costing them anything.”
Oslund says the goal is to have the facility built and open to the community for Fall 2023.