Kingston’s mayor and a number of dignitaries gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony at the corner of Highway 15 and Grenadier Drive in cold, blustery conditions Wednesday morning.
It’s another step forward in building the much-anticipated Kingston East Community Centre.
The $13.5-million community centre was originally budgeted at $11.5 million but bids for the build were over.
Increasing the facility’s energy efficiency by adding solar panels and an improved heating system — two changes made by council — are also included in the $2-million increase.
Mayor Bryan Paterson says the extra up-front cost will pay for itself, saving $3-million in energy costs over the life of the building.
Paterson says adding an emergency reception centre added $500,000 to the cost of the build.
“In case of emergencies, this is a place where people can come, and I thought that was an important investment for this end of the city.”
The east end of Kingston is an area where some of the largest residential growth has taken place, making the centre that much more needed, says Coun. Ryan Boehme.
Boehme, who represents Pittsburgh District, where the centre is being built, points out that two smaller older community centres were closed in anticipation of this one being built.
“This is an area that has a lot of population growth in the last little while and it’s continuing to grow. These investments are key — they’re needed over here.”
The facility will have amenities like a gymnasium, an indoor walking track and an outdoor winter rink.
Boehme says the Pittsburgh Community Benefit Fund also made a donation to the project.
“It was about $300K roughly, and that was funding for the splash pad outside, which is going to be another nice amenity.”
The municipality’s director of recreation and leisure Lacricia Turner says the city is exploring working with a number of community groups when the centre opens.
“We’re looking at various forms of partnerships, which includes the Kingston Seniors Association, the Boys and Girls Club.”
Construction is set to begin at some point in 2020 and is expected to take 18 to 24 months to complete.