City to aid L.A.P.A. in grant applications for MEGlobal Athletic Park expansion

Lacombe Athletic Park Association members, dignitaries, MEGlobal Canada representatives and athletes gather at centre field of MEGlobal Athletic Park following the announcement of a $4-million expansion project and a $2-million donation from MEGlobal to go towards the project on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018 in Lacombe, Alta. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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Despite Lacombe city council delaying a decision to contribute funds towards MEGlobal Athletic Park expansion projects, the city will aid the Lacombe Athletic Park Association (L.A.P.A.) in securing grant funds.

“We are supporting L.A.P.A. by assisting them with two grant applications to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) and the Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP),” said Director of Community Services Deborah Juch, in a release issued Wednesday afternoon.

“We also hope to help them complete a well-researched needs assessment and cost-benefit analysis to highlight the community development aspects of this world-class sports facility.”

At their regular meeting on Monday, March 25, council rejected a recommendation from administration to contribute up to $1 million for both the installation of a track and additions and upgrades to the existing field house.

While council has given support in principle, making that high of a commitment wasn’t something they were prepared to make – given it could result in a 0.14 per cent up to a 0.72 per cent tax increase, should grant applications be unsuccessful. Instead, their plan now is to wait until Spring 2020 when the success of both grant applications is known before committing a dollar figure towards the project.

Following the meeting, 2019 L.A.P.A. Board Chair Darren Berg told the Lacombe Globe he was confident that grant applications would be successful, and just as confident the projects would still go ahead regardless of Lacombe city council postponing their decision on how much – if any – they would contribute dollar-wise to the project.

“One of the great things about this partnership between L.A.P.A. and our sponsors and partners has been how we work together to make the park happen. I have plenty of confidence we’ll continue to do so,” Berg said.

“It’s difficult to see the end at this point, but we’ll continue to proceed as quickly as possible. We’re still very excited – I believe the field house expansion and track will be built.”

The project was announced in November 2018, and is expected to cost $4 million in total. MEGlobal has donated $2 million towards the project, 50 per cent of which has already been received.

Phase 1, which is the field house addition, upgrades to bathrooms and change rooms, is slated to start in Sept. 2019.