The Town of Blackfalds recently held an Open House to present preliminary drawings for an expansion to the Multi-Plex.
“We had a Public Engagement Session and during that time, we had over 60 persons present,” Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole said. “They were asked to fill out surveys if they had questions or comments and we received over 30 surveys.
“The attitude was generally positive and we heard about the pros and cons of the concept, more of which we will discover throughout the consultation.”
Early mock-ups show a proposed twinning of the arena, as well as an expanded Blackfalds Library within the Multi-Plex.
“It is defiantly a big step,” Poole said. “We have some good preliminary designs we have shared with the public, which includes the twinning of the arena and an expansion of our library into the multiplex. Both of those projects are subject to a lot of work over the next year to two years.”
Support for the twinning of the area is something that has seen widespread support in the community, most notably from the Dual Ice Development Society who have committed to raising $1 million towards the project and recently hosted womens hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser at a fundraiser.
“They have been very successful so far, they are letting the community know what is happening, they are putting out information and they are an excellent group of people that are committed to raising $1 million for the project. They are well on their way,” Poole said.
Obviously a project of this magnitude will require some municipal funding, however the exact amount of funding at this time is unclear due to the Town searching for other funding methods.
“We are going to be looking for sponsorships, naming rights and groups who want to help us out in other ways,” Poole said. “We haven’t started the process off seeing if there is monies available in different grant forms from our brand new government, but there will be a lot of things over the next years which will determine what the Town’s contribution will be.
“We are working with ballpark numbers in terms of the what the total cost will be and all of those will be well-defined as we move forward.”
Poole said there has been a lot of spoken support for the project, but the Town is focusing on their public consultation in order to ensure they are meeting the needs of the community.
“We are moving forward one step at a time and looking forward to feedback we are going to get,” he said. “One of the things we are doing is the survey which is available both on the Town website and the Town Facebook page. We are asking people interested to fill out the survey and we are utilizing these surveys as a tool to find out what our citizens are thinking and hoping for.
“We will move forward based on what we have heard from our citizens.”
He added, “I am so appreciative of all the feedback from the Dual Ice Development Society and the Ag Society, who are also part of the fundraising efforts of the Dual Ice projects. The Library Board and the Friends of the Library will become more involved over the next year.
“All of these groups have been so positive and have worked in a great way in conjunction with the Town to make a project come forward.”