The first of four new public recreation facilities aimed at improving opportunities for underserved areas of Calgary held its grand opening in Quarry Park Saturday.
“I like the fact that there’s a library and a physical fitness facility, especially being a new mom,” said Semhar Ogbay, who used the YMCA for the first time with her husband and four-month-old son.
The Remington YMCA officially opened to the public July 1 after two years of construction. The city invested $63 million and oversaw the planning, design and construction of the 94,000-square-foot facility, a statement said Saturday.
“The City of Calgary knows that the southeast quadrant is growing rapidly and there is significant need for additional community amenities here,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said in a statement. “It’s part of a city-wide strategy to build active, cultural, vibrant and complete communities filled with opportunity for all.”
The Quarry Park neighbourhood is a mini-downtown built on a former gravel pit. It was seen as a rare opportunity 10 years ago: hundreds of acres of inner city brown field development that could be turned into a commercial hub capable of competing for top-tier corporations around the world.
The Remington YMCA features amenities including:
- A 25-metre, six-lane pool and a small leisure pool
- Hot tubs
- A steam room
- A gymnasium
- A fitness centre, fitness studios, multi-purpose rooms
- A running/walking track
- Food services
- A 9,000-square-foot public library (new location of the Glenmore Square Library)
Murray Karn lives in Douglasdale and said he used to have to drive to Canyon Meadows to work out.
“This will keep us all on this side of the Bow,” he said. “We don’t have to fight the traffic going across the bridge on the Deerfoot. So we’re very, very pleased to have it and I think that’s why there’s such a good crowd here today.”
Calgary Public Library CEO Bill Ptacek said the new YMCA facility includes “an early learning centre for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, additional community meeting room spaces, more computers, books and services.”
The new centre is part of the city’s $480-million investment to improve rec centre availability throughout Calgary. The Great Plains Recreation Facility, a “multi-purpose arena and community space” also in the southeast, opened to the public on Sept. 1. Rocky Ridge Recreation Facility in the northwest and Seton Recreation Facility in the southeast are currently under construction and set to be completed in 2017 and 2018, respectively, the city said Saturday.
With files from Carolyn Kury de Castillo and Global News