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Rycroft Arena upgrades in the works

The Rycroft Arena will finally get the upgrades it needs. The provincial government has given the Rycroft Arena Board a $379,147 matching grant from the Community Facilities Enhancement Program. After the board’s former treasurer plead guilty to theft over $5,000 in 2017, President DJ Barbarich says there’s been a lot of stress and a lot of disappointment over the last few years.

“To finally be able to put the down payment on this big project that’s basically going to transform the facility into something that can be used and enjoyed more efficiently for the next 25 years, we’re all very excited… It’s definitely got us to move past what happened and how much money was stolen.”

Lyne was sentenced to eight months in jail after money went missing from the facility’s fundraising bank account. Barbarich says over the course of three fundraisers, just under $89,000, which was supposed to be used for a new concrete floor, went missing. Lyne was also given a $200 fine and 24 months probation.

The group received more than $30,000 from the provincial grant for the first phase of renovations back in 2014 to replace the bleachers. They had been reapplying for the grant for the last five years but were turned down until this year.

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This round of money plus a grant they received from Saddle Hills County in February will be used to install a refrigerated concrete floor as well as new dasher boards and glass. Barbarich says he’s grateful that the community helped make this happen.

“It’s obviously been a tough few years in the area and to be able to still count on people and businesses to get together to fund a project like this is really just a compliment to the region and the ingenuity that people have in this area for community projects.”

The full renovations are expected to cost around $800,000 and will be done by October.

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