Sports park funding needs just a little more push

Support for the new Stettler Sports Park with ball diamonds and soccer fields continues to grow and the project is on track to play ball next year.

“Everything is on schedule and we expect to have all fields playable next spring,” said Lee Penner, director of Stettler Parks and Leisure.

Set to open in spring 2011, the new sports park on 44 Avenue at 68 Street will feature four baseball diamonds and two soccer pitches, with a playground, walking trails, and plenty of parking for passenger and recreational vehicles, all with easy access for wheelchairs and people challenged with mobility.

Estimated at $1.1 million, the project continues to gain support.

“With a community fundraising goal of $250,000, we have so far raised about $227,000,” said Penner.

A fundraising golf tournament scheduled for Sept. 11 was cancelled because of a lack of golfers.

Just days before finalizing the tournament, just two people had registered to participate.

“We wanted 100 golfers – we would have lost money,” said Penner, who suspected the cool wet weather and the sluggish economy for the lack of participants.

However, the fundraising committee had secured lots of sponsors from area businesses.

“We are still seeking more funding and we’ll reach our goal and we’ll be happy.”

The town has already contributed $250,000 with additional provincial funding of $596,570 coming from the Alberta Major Facilities Program supported by Alberta Lotteries,

“This new facility will provide a first-class sports park for local teams and will host larger tournaments and provincial championships,’ said Mayor Dick Richards, who chairs the fundraising committee.

“Stettler Sports Park will create a sense of pride in our community with facilities that will provide opportunities to meet the current and growing recreational demand for all ages from children to seniors.”

“It will serve the needs of the Town of Stettler, County of Stettler, villages and surrounding areas as far east as the Saskatchewan border, west to Lacombe, north to Camrose and south to Drumheller.”

This will also reduce the number of residents who travel outside Stettler for recreational activities.

When completed, the sports park will become the main fields for sports organizations who realize that many of the current fields are not on town property and may not be available in a few years.

Those fields are located by Stettler Hospital that has long-term plans to use that land to expand health facilities with other diamonds at the exhibition grounds owned by Stettler and District Agricultural Society.

For more information on fundraising for Stettler Sports Park, phone Richards at 403-742-1686 (home) or 403-742-8321 (work) or Penner at 403-742-4411.