Community-funded Morden track expected to provide endless opportunities

Click to play video: 'Community-funded Morden track expected to provide endless opportunities'
Community-funded Morden track expected to provide endless opportunities
The community of Morden is thrilled about a new recreational addition they hope will contribute to community health and economic growth. Teagan Rasche tells us more about the project - and when it will reach the finish line. – Feb 20, 2024

Morden, Man., multi-sport teenage athletes Jessica Kagan and Ava Earl both enjoy competitive running.

“On gravel there’s been lots of nasty slips and falls and it’s not really ideal to be sprinting on,” Earl said.

They are both hoping a new eight-lane rubberized track in their community will elevate their performance

“I run some of the longer-distance races so it will be nice to get a good training experience,” Kagan said.

With the closest rubberized track nearly 100 kilometres away at the University of Manitoba, the opportunity for Morden to have its own is huge.

“The cost to participate in athletics is so low. There are no barriers to participating in this sports. So for our newcomers, low-income families, for anyone that really has a passion for sport, they can really get out there and be training and competing on a world-class facility,” said Samuel Jerema, principal of Discovery Trails School, where the track is being built.

Story continues below advertisement

The new track is also expected to have an economic impact in the community of around 10,000.

“Morden hasn’t been able to host a track event, I don’t think, ever,” Western School Division trustee Dave Guenther said. “So this opens up the opportunity for Morden to have that hosting experience.”

Aside from economic growth, Morden Mayor Nancy Penner also sees the track benefiting all area residents and Special Olympics athletes.

“It also provides opportunities for not only our youth but our seniors. Mental and physical health is important to our community,” Penner said.

The construction of the track, and accompanying soccer field, will cost around $1 million.

It’s been almost entirely community-funded.

“We’ve received a grant from the province, we are working with the city to get a grant from them as well and then community has come together with dozens of businesses and hundreds of individuals giving small donations to make this track possible,” Guenther said.

The City of Morden also donated just under three acres of land to the project as fundraising efforts are still ongoing.

“We are sitting at just over $800,000 right now so with the city’s contribution that we are expecting that to put us over a million and then it will be fundraising for the extras like the bleachers, soccer nets and hurdles,” Western School Division trustee Darcy Wolfe said.

Story continues below advertisement

The track equipment to be purchased, like hurdles and throwing implements, will give athletes like Kagan and Earl the chance to try new events.

“I might try discus,” Kagan said.

Earl added that she’s “always wanted to try long jump.”

Discovery Trails School and the track are both expected to be open this September, playing important roles in this rapidly growing community.

Sponsored content