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Rotary eyeing D Coy Armouries for community hub

A group of Rotarians wants to turn D Company Armouries into a community hub. The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie heard Friday about a proposal to renovate and add on to the building so that it can be used by more groups.

The Rotary Club of Calgary has teamed up with the United Way Calgary and Area and the City of Calgary to build seven community hubs in that city over five years. Rotarian Bruce Tattrie says they’re hoping to follow their lead.

“We’ve kind of mimicked the project here in the hopes that we get the same kind of result: a centralized place for community and not-for-profits and organizations like the cadets and YMCA are able to utilize the facility.”

Currently, five youth programs are run out of the Swanavon facility, including the army, air, and EMS Cadets, YMCA North programs, and the Play Zone Summer Camp. Rotarian Andy Stewart says it’s the right spot, given its history.

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“It was built back in the ’40s for D Company of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment; it’s had that cadet history all the way through. Certainly, for those anchor tenants, it will continue to meet their needs going forward, but just its location, where it is in the middle of the city, we see it as a great resource for building community strength.”

What’s being proposed is the removal of the current cadet bunkers and washrooms and the expansion of the building a little over 40 feet to the north. The result would include training, storage, and office space for the cadets, rentable boardrooms, as well as a general area that could seat 400 people with bleachers.

In total, the renovations are estimated to cost $3.1 million, and the hope is that Rotary will come up with $1.5 million of that. Stewart says the next steps are to get feedback from Grande Prairie’s five Rotary clubs.

“We have to look at our other Rotary commitments, the other projects that we’re supporting currently and mesh that all together. But, with the feedback we’re getting… we’re pretty excited.”

Grants will also need to be applied for, and there should be sponsorship opportunities. If given the green light, the build is expected to take one year, and the hope is to have shovels in the ground in two years.

Tattrie says they plan to honour the tradition of D Coy Armouries and intend to keep it as part of the building’s name. One has not yet been chosen.

“The historical significance is why we chose it in the first place, really; that’s what’s driving it. I think the Swanavon [Neighbourhood] Association wants the same thing, so that would be a key.”

If successful, Tattrie hopes to move on to more hubs in the future. Parking still needs to be figured out.

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