The request for a running track for the Lacombe area has been renewed.
At their regular council meeting on Jan. 25th, Lacombe City councillors heard a presentation from Darren George requesting that a track be built at ME Global Athletic Park, surrounding the pre-existing football field.
George, track coach at Lacombe Composite High School (LCHS), said the four schools in the area (LCHS, Central Alberta Christian High School, Lacombe Christian School and Ecole Lacombe Junior High) have been highly successful in the area of track and field over the past few years, placing within the top five in the province.
“What happens when an athletics department is doing well?” he questioned. “Research has shown time and time again that people who are involved with school athletics have higher GPAs and are dramatically less involved in negative behaviours.”
George said the coaches from four respective schools are passionate and have been working on building a dynasty.
“We are working very hard to build upon the Bill Nielsen Trail System, which is a magnificent system which provides us the resources that are necessary for doing outstanding cross-country,” he said. “And now we come to our need. How can we finish second in the province in track and field when we don’t even have a track? This has been a constant challenge for me.”
George said the only other running track in Central Alberta is located in Red Deer at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School. The Lacombe schools have taken to creating their own track in the junior high school’s field and painting lines on the grass.
He added that if Lacombe had a proper running track, top level athletes would be drawn from across the province, the City could host several championships and local teams would be able to train four or five days a week.
“This is another resource where we can build community, where people will be attracted because we have an outstanding high school,” he said. We have an outstanding community and we are committed to helping people live healthy lifestyles and helping young people.”
Mayor Steve Christie said City council has heard a presentation on this topic before from the Lacombe Athletic Park Association (LAPA).
“The City has always backed this project,” he said.
Councillor Bill McQuesten said a running track was included in the original project presented by the LAPA, but it was mentioned in the last presentation there was little support for a running track in the community.
“I think what we heard tonight is that is far from the truth,” he said. “We need to get back on track.”
Preliminary costs for the proposed project were not provided at the time.