Saturday marked the official opening of Setters Place at Great Chief Park in Red Deer.
It was the City’s latest ribbon cutting of a major recreational facility upgrade in the community in the past two weeks, with the Servus Arena opening its doors to the public just last Saturday.
Hundreds of Red Deerians came out to Saturday’s event which included skating, snow shoeing, kid’s crafts and games and entertainment for all ages.
Construction on the $12 million project began in the Fall of 2017 with the federal government providing $3 million.
The facility now features a three-story, modern pavilion overlooking a brand new synthetic sports field, regulation sized for both soccer and football. During the winter months, a 400m outdoor speed skating oval is constructed on top of the field, which will host long-track speed skating during the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Other notables include an outdoor event space, new maintenance garage, additional lighting and improvements to the parking lot to allow for bus drop-off. Also, the City of Red Deer partnered with Alberta Recycling to use recycled tires for the rubber matting on the first floor of the pavilion. Benches from the former Red Deer Arena have been refurbished and used as benching inside the dressing rooms at Setters Place, with wood from trees in the parking lot salvaged to create a unique counter-top and feature wall on the second floor of the pavilion.
Mayor Tara Veer says modernized facilities at Great Chief Park have been a long-standing community vision.
“Because of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, the federal infrastructure funds that came the city’s way and the sponsorship of the Setters family, this long-awaited vision has finally become a reality,” says Veer. “Fully expanding Great Chief Park and truly making it an all-seasons facility and modernized amenity that will serve Red Deerians for many years to come.”
Veer added, “Today, we’re starting to see the realization of what the Canada Games is meaning to the community,” beams Veer. “We’re already a year-out and the best is still yet to come.”
City of Red Deer Manager of Recreation, Parks and Culture Shelley Gagnon says the pavilion will be available for community use, including rentals and special events.
“In the spring, we’ll welcome back our football teams and our soccer teams,” says Gagnon. “Then again next winter when we’re able to complete the oval, we’ll have speed skating and the community will be able to come for public skates. That is the result of the sponsorship that we have with Setters Construction and Sons, the ability to offer free, public skating for our community when we open the ice next year.”
David Patterson, President and CEO of the Canada Games Council says a project like this really demonstrates what hosting the Canada Winter Games can do for a community.
“The games are the catalyst and the magic happens starting at the games but then for 30, 40, 50 years after that.”
Patterson says they’re really pleased with the progress being made in preparing for next February’s Games.
“Lyn Radford and the board and Scott Robinson and his team are doing a great job here,” states Patterson. “You here in Red Deer are in great hands and athletes across Canada from Mount Proulx, New Foundland to Tofino who are training to come to these games, they are in great hands as well. We’re really feeling good about the group here and the work they’re doing.”
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