February 28th, 2024

Vast majority of Towne Square’s final cost is covered by grants

By COLLIN GALLANT on April 6, 2022.

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

The final cost of the Towne Square redevelopment should be no higher than $2.9 million, paid for almost entirely with grant money, city officials stated Tuesday, clarifying figures used at a council meeting earlier this year.

The work to clean up soil contamination at the site of the former car lot across from city hall, repave it, add landscaping and install a market and canopy on one-third of the site is nearly complete.

The project was debated heavily in January when council members were presented with an overview of how the city performed on a package of grants it received from the provincial and federal government to spur the economy during the second year of the pandemic in 2021.

At that point a budget figure of $3 million to $3.5 million was bandied about as administrators described efforts to change the scope and design to counteract higher than expected costs due to supply issues and short turnaround time.

The key grant originally required work be designed and completed in a 12-month time frame

Invest Medicine Hat managing director Eric Van Enk told the News on Tuesday while there has been confusion about the project following a challenging budgeting and project management process, his office is confident the final figure is between $2.8 million and $2.9 million.

About $360,000 of the difference involves previously planned work by the municipal works department adjacent to the site. That occurred at the same time, and has been mentioned as part of overall improvements in the vicinity. Van Enk says a financing plan never included the potential for a repayable loan from the land department’s working capital, as previously reported by the News.

In the end, the city’s bill won’t require financing.

The project began following a $2-million provincial grant in late 2020, and a second grant announced this week worth $750,000 from Canada’s Community Revitalization Fund.

Those grants, totalling $2.75 million, account for about 95 per cent of the expected cost, said Van Enk.

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