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Digging deep for Lacombe athletics

The Lacombe Athletic Park Association has landed another high profile investor. Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins was at the Memorial Centre in Lacombe recently to announce $125,000 in provincial funding for the MEGlobal Athletic Park.

The Lacombe Athletic Park Association has landed another high profile investor.

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ray Prins was at the Memorial Centre in Lacombe recently to announce $125,000 in provincial funding for the MEGlobal Athletic Park.

“The province realizes the impact that this facility will have on all of Central Alberta,” said Darren Gagnon, chair of the fundraising committee for the park.

“I believe the province, as did the federal government and Lacombe County, sees their support as an investment in a unique project where they are working with private initiatives and private fundraising to provide an athletic park that will be visited by in excess of 25,000 people per year.”

With the latest announcement from the province, fundraising efforts have now surpassed the $2 million milestone, with the total cost of the three-phase project pegged at $3 million.

“We're now sitting at 2.1 million dollars,” said Gagnon, who points out that additional fundraising is underway to get to the $3 million mark.

“The two million dollar milestone though is a significant pride peg for our association.”

Association chair Fred Knip agrees.

“This project was a dream four years ago, and we are excited to see the hard work and efforts of so many people who have planned, organized, and fundraised for the project as it progresses,” said Knip.

“Minor sports in Lacombe were in desperate need of a place to even operate to minimum standards, but this state of the art facility will provide all of Central Alberta with a facility to host sporting and entertainment events from local and regional users.”

Work on the first two phases of the project, which includes the ENCANA Field House, field lighting, bleachers, and a scoreboard began earlier this year and is expected to be done by late August or early September.

Phase three of the project, which includes the installation of a rubber track and artificial field turf, is expected to begin in November and the entire park should be ready to open by the spring of 2011.