The Town of Taber held three grand opening ceremonies on Saturday, showcasing new improvements and developments within the municipality after years in the making.
Announcements included a ribbon-cutting for both a campground north of the town and an emergency services facility, as well as a naming ceremony for a brand new baseball diamond.
The Trout Pond Campground was celebrated first, and although it was open for the summer of 2020, the event made the new addition official.
Currently in the third of five anticipated phases, the recreational area is home to a stocked pond, kilometres of walking trails, and most recently, nine stalls and 30 amp service. The municipal campground adds to the new Trout Pound and West Trail extension project.
Camper Garry Bolit says he has lived in Taber for several decades, and is glad to see improvements coming to the area.
“It’s way overdue,” Bolit said. “It’s nice to have more stuff available for people in Taber.”
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While the project is still in the works, Mayor Andrew Prokop is encouraging the public to provide their input on further improvements. He adds there is potential for the site to expand to more than 40 stalls.
“It’s a promotional recreation usage area, and we’re trying to enhance that to be a bigger and better place for our entire community,” Prokop said.
The second of the announcements took place at the Ken McDonald Memorial Sportsfield, where a newly constructed fourth baseball diamond was named.
The Dr. Gerald Beckie Ball Diamond joins a plethora of other sports amenities at the outdoor venue, including a football field, stadium, soccer pitches and playgrounds.
“That ball diamond was on hold for some time, and we were finally able to bring that to fruition,” said Prokop.
Its namesake and donor says he is thankful to have been a part of this long-awaited addition, and hopes to see it put to use next season for minor baseball.
The day of grand openings culminated in downtown Taber, where a modern fire hall now stands ready to serve the needs of the community in a centralized location.
The William Ferguson Emergency Services Building, which is home to the Taber Fire Department and AHS Emergency Services, has been in the works for several years.
After Ferguson, a local community member, left his $2.4 million estate to the town in 2017 with no direction on how it should be spent, the town says they sought to find a way to improve the safety and well-being of Taber.
It was decided that $1.5 million of this donation would be put toward the new fire hall, while approximately $900,000 was allocated to the Trout Pond project.
“This building is such an asset for our community,” said Taber fire chief Steve Munshaw, adding the former fire hall was not ideally located to service the whole town in a timely manner.
As well, Munshaw says the size and functionality of the new building will prove beneficial for years to come.
“We actually have enough room for another three full-sized apparatus to be able to be in there, on top of current inventory,” he said. “We’ve really thought ahead at least 25 years in the future.”
Mayor Prokop says each of the facilities recognized over the weekend were much needed in their own respects, and is looking forward to working with the community to continue fostering positive development.