Renaissance Brandon is using close to $150,000 of its annual provincial grant on the Dood Cristall Family YMCA’s new "Pocket Park."
Municipal Government Minister Stan Struthers was in Brandon yesterday at the Y’s new facility to announce the government is "providing up to $146,500" to support the park’s development in partnership with Ren Brandon.
However, the money is, in fact, provincial cash already granted to the downtown development corporation, according to its development specialist, Braden Pilling.
The $250,000 grant Ren Brandon receives each year through the Building Manitoba Fund — a grant matched by the City of Brandon — must not be spent before the province approves investments chosen by the board.
This latest approved spending by Ren Brandon is one of three projects given the green light in 2013. The province previously approved the Wednesdays by the Fountain event and a financial analysis of Ninth Street where the Brandon Inn used to stand.
The Pocket Park, located where the old YMCA building was located at the corner of Princess Avenue and Eighth Street, is expected to open at the end of the summer.
"It was an opportunity to just kind of finish this off," Pilling said. "We still have the fire hall to do and there could be enhancements to Princess Park in the future.
"But essentially, it was a timing issue — if we didn’t get involved, we’d just have a grass field and that isn’t really the vision of downtown."
The remaining cost of the $250,000 park will come from the Y’s coffers, according to the facility’s CEO Lon Cullen.
The Pocket Park, right now just a blank slate of dirt, will include two landscaped park areas, fitness equipment including a basketball hoop, fence and site fixtures such as garbage bins and bicycle racks, all woven throughout parking areas.
Part of the plan is to add 70 to 100 parking spaces and safe drop zones for children and buses, which are desperately needed since buses now have to park at the corner of Seventh and Princess, forcing people to walk around the building to get to the entrance.
"We are very proud as the Province of Manitoba to participate in the development of the park ... (through) the Building Manitoba Fund," Struthers said during Wednesday’s press conference — "a fund that is absolutely integral in so many communities in making sure those who pay taxes across the province see some benefits in paying those taxes back into the communities.
"I think this is a great example."
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