The new Bowden Community Hall is getting a big financial boost ahead of its scheduled opening this March.
A request for $100,000 was made to county council by the Expanding Horizons Bowden Cultural Enhancement Society, which is overseeing fundraising for construction and operation of the new 6500 sq.ft. hall at the north end of town.
On Tuesday, council agreed to provide $200,000 towards the $266,800 still needed. Red Deer County is already providing $600,000 towards to the $2.33 million pricetag.
Mayor Jim Wood noted the hall's usership is projected to be 53 per cent county residents.
"We want that hall to be successful and felt that $200,000 would still leave them to raise some more money on their own, and it's a reasonable number for them to raise," he said. "The County can provide some funding, but without the drive from the community, we wouldn't see a project like this happen."
This isn't the first time in recent memory county council has gone above and beyond with respect to a request for capital assistance.
At its Jan. 9 meeting, council approved $15,000 instead of the requested $10,000, towards the purchase of a new outdoor rink to replace the old and deteriorating one in Elnora.
"We have a reserve set up and this reserve carries a fairly substantial balance at all times," Wood said when asked how the County can afford to go the extra mile. "These are often one-offs. We try to make sure we provide the appropriate funding to see that the project will take place and we try to make sure we fund projects that are important to the community."
The main piece of work remaining at the Bowden Community Hall is the kitchen, a $144,000 expense.
The Society says it plans to break-even in the first six months of operation through a marketing plan that includes signage, website advertising, attendance at trade shows, social media and print media.
The hall already has 28 bookings with events scheduled for every month of 2018. It will boast a modern commercial kitchen and one of the largest banquet spaces in the entire region, with capacity for a 350-person dinner or 500-person seating.
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