LAPA Gala raises over $50,000

On March 7th, the Lacombe Memorial Centre once again was the home of an amazing evening

On March 7th, the Lacombe Memorial Centre once again was the home of an amazing evening as the Lacombe Athletic Park Association (LAPA) held their fundraising gala.

“That was fun,” said Shelly Gray, LAPA chairperson. “It was a great night where the community comes together and has a great time supporting our goal to keep ME Global Athletic Park operating and growing.”

A packed hall of over 350 was entertained by Coach Bobby Lee (comedian Gery Schubert) for a fun night full of laughs with celebrities, dignitaries, community leaders and project supporters, she said.

LAPA recognized community corporate supporters and played host to football players and representatives from the University of Calgary and University of Alberta, to former Stanley Cup winners and CFL stars including Edmonton Eskimo Matt Nicholls and Calgary Stampeder Bo Levi Mitchell (Grey Cup MVP). It was also the fifth visit of CFL All-Star Jon Cornish who now seems to make the event part of his spring training program.

“Jon keeps showing up every year to support us, and he joins the fun and wows the crowd. I’m sure his dancing skills get a lot of YouTube views,” joked Gray.

In the end, a great dinner was had by all, laughs filled the hall, and after all the auctions and raffles were done and the donations were made, the Association raised over $50,000 towards their annual fundraising targets. The money goes toward meeting the ongoing goals of the LAPA.

“It’s our mandate to build and operate a state of the art facility that drives visitors to our community while we provide access to local minor sports groups and community groups at a subsidized rate,” said Don Gustafson, past chairperson.

“About a quarter of our $200,000 annual budget is raised tonight. The funds are used to operate the facility and build a capital fund for future Astro Turf replacement and expansion of the park facilities.”

The LAPA has subleased the Wolf Creek School Division land from the City of Lacombe. To date the capital project cost has been about $4 million. Less than 50% of the capital funds and less than 30% of the operating funds and capital reserve comes from government funds.

The Association has over $225,000 put aside for further expansion and is very financially prudent as it operates the community facility, officials say. ME Global Athletic Park continues to host local, regional and provincial entertainment and sporting events like soccer, rugby, football and field lacrosse of all age groups. For more information onf park usage throughout the year, check out the calendar on the web site.

“We need to thank all our supporters and sponsors, without them this park would not exist,” said Matthew Edwards, marketing and fundraising chairperson. “These people keep our local kids playing for free at the park, allowing our programs to grow and the community to benefit from growing use of the park.”

Support for the project’s fundraising can be donated in cash, work-in-kind (services and or product), or by volunteering with the Association in its operating and/or fundraising efforts. Check out and click on the fundraising page for more.

“It was a super night enjoyed by all, and we met all our fundraising goals” Gray continued. “We do it again next year so we hope that everyone will be back to enjoy.”

Submitted by the Lacombe Athletic Park Association