By ANNA SMITH Local Journalism Initiative on February 6, 2024.
Work is underway for the upcoming Dunmore Equestrian Society’s indoor arena, the next step in its usage of the 25-acre space to elevate local equestrian experiences.
Construction officially began in January, and is planned for a 140 by 275-foot indoor arena with bleacher seating, a restroom, storage area and multi-purpose area.The space will be alongside the existing outdoor arena, which has been used for various events over the 10 years the society has been operating.
“Breaking ground on a new indoor arena is something that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” said founder Blair Reid. “I’m very happy to see the direction Dunmore Equestrian is going and look forward to seeing 100 per cent community support for this next phase of our development as we build a multi-use, full-season facility for our future generations to use, grow and learn in.”
The arena has been a goal of the society since its inception in 2014, said Dominique Hirsch, business development with Dunmore Equestrian Society, and they’re excited to be bringing it to fruition with the support of residents, local government and businesses.
The $2.5-million construction project has a good start with $1,325,000 in funds raised to date through grants and donations, and is on schedule, but will require additional funding to complete the work.
“The indoor arena will be ready for use this fall as a functioning indoor facility, but not a fully developed facility,” director Paul Blase said. “We need an additional $1 million to complete the electrical, HVAC, water, washrooms, bleachers, announcer’s booth and offices, so fundraising is a top priority for our board of directors.”
“When I make the calls for support, the community is really behind this,” said Hirsch, adding that the support “really spurs that feeling of growth and community and appreciation of what we have in this area.”
Hirsch added that they have been studying other communities such as Claresholm and Ponoka, which have similar facilities, and what’s hosted there, and explained that these facilities have become “inclusive to everything the community can do.”
It is the hope that the climate-controlled space will be used not just for indoor rodeo activities, but also potentially competitions, trade shows and equine therapy.
“I’m excited about the possibilities that completion of the new indoor event centre will bring to Medicine Hat, Cypress County and surrounding communities. We still have a lot of work and fundraising to do but this facility will be ready for use this fall,” said president Kelly Creasy.
The fundraising campaign for the rest of the project is already underway, and the society is optimistic it will be able to meet goals in due time. Interested parties looking to support the new arena are encouraged to reach out.