By Collin Gallant on December 11, 2018.
Budgets for several city parks projects are again being bolstered by a new partnership program in recreation facilities.
About $100,000 in new provincial grants will go into three projects that fall under a community partnership initiative launched by the City of Medicine Hat, a committee heard Monday.
“It’s paperwork, but it’s good paperwork,” commissioner Karen Charlton told the public services committee. “Groups have been leveraging to make projects bigger and better.”
She outlined three projects in which city funds put toward upgrading parks facilities had been more than tripled when local groups fundraised, then leveraged all funds toward winning provincial grants.
That means, essentially three times the budget compared to if the city had gone at it alone.
The most recent two-year budget plan called for city project planners to seek out donations from private individuals and community groups to offset costs or expand projects.
The major renovation of Police Point Interpretive Centre is the most-notable example. There, $200,000 in city cash has led to a $1-million project thanks to provincial grants and donations from the Grasslands Naturalists, Medicine Hat Accommodation Association and South Country Co-op.
“We’ll work with anyone who is organized and willing to work towards the goal,” Charlton said, noting that city hall and community groups also have a number of operating and capital funding agreements.
Public services chair, Coun. Julie Friesen, called it “another example of how community and non-profits work to improve the community with, sometimes, very little recognition.”
Items at committee on Monday involved budget amendments to note new third-party funding in the form of provincial Community Enhancement grants.
The largest amount involved updates to a kitchen facility near the Kinette Korner in Kin Coulee. It was built in the early 1980s and was due for modernization by the city’s corporate asset management department. It dedicated $25,000 of its annual renovation budget, which was coupled with $75,000 from the Kinettes. A Community Enhancement Program from the provincial government adds another $60,000, bringing the total to $160,000, more than six times the city’s expense.
Two other projects were included in budget amendments discussed Monday.
In the case of the Skateboard association, the city dedicated $10,000 toward skate spots — smaller skateboard pads in satellite parks — amounting to half the original budget. The Medicine Hat Skateboard Association fundraised a similar amount and was then awarded an additional $11,500 from the province. The final budget sits at $31,500.
New starting blocks at the Family Leisure Centre’s 50-metre pool will move ahead without cost to the city. An Alberta Community Partnership grant covered half the budget, then fundraising by the Alberta Marlins Swimclub, and then CFEP grant boosted the budget to $66,800. It means two sets of blocks will be replaced, not just the one from the original plan.
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