A $1.8 million donation from the Rotary Club of Grande Praire will help greatly kickstart a new fundraiser that aims to completely renovate and improve the D Coy Armouries building.
Currently, the home of the Air and Army Cadets, the plans for the building will see the creation of an even greater community hub. Plans will also include additional anchor organizations, including the YMCA North Program using the facility, with bookings also accepted from other local organizations and groups.
Rotary President Bruce Tattrie says while they’ve been waiting for this day for several years, but, like many projects, the pandemic halted progress. He adds with a total cost of $3.5 million, they still have a lot of work to do.
“We haven’t really been in front of anyone yet, so this is the first time we’ve been able to engage, and I’m optimistic that within a year, I think it’ll take a year to maybe raise that, or maybe more, but we will go as long as it takes,”
“The building has been standing for 75 years, couple more years won’t make a difference, but we hope to be wrapped up in a year on the money side, and then a year of construction,”
Tattrie says while the COVID-19 pandemic played havoc with the potential fundraising campaign, the time gave them ample opportunity to finalize development permits, land acquisition, and engineering drawings. He adds despite being set back by forces outside of their control, getting the project over the starting line has been a priority for the rotary club for some time.
“We’ve been the sponsoring committee for the 577 air cadets, we give $35,000 [annually] to make it run, and the chair at the time realized the squadrons were outgrowing the building as it is… so there was a need for that alone,” he says.
“Just the state of repair of the building, we decided to make it a project… a few of us got together and here we are.”
The armory was last renovated in the 1980s, and you can find more information about the D Coy Armories Community Hub Project on the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie Facebook page.