By Saifullah Muhammad, Spoke News
The City of Kitchener, along with local dignitaries and residents, held a groundbreaking event on Wednesday, Sept. 26, to celebrate the start of construction to expand the Doon Pioneer Park Community Centre.
The new project will improve “life for residents of Doon Pioneer Park,” Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said during his speech at the beginning of the event.
“It happened only because of the hard work of Doon Pioneer Park Association. It is the city’s commitment to help the people of Doon Pioneer Park with new and upgraded amenities, which is inclusive and accessible,” Vrbanovic added.
The community centre was built in 1989. Since then, the population of the surrounding area has grown from 7,200 to approximately 20,000.
The expansion will help meet the growing needs of the community by providing better programs and services for the increased population of children, youth and adults. It will also serve the students of Conestoga College living in the area.
Mark Hildebrand, director of neighbourhood programs and service, said the project will cost $3.9 million to complete. The centre will have a new gymnasium, two new program rooms, a bigger lobby area and informal gathering areas, plus reconfigured office spaces for the Neighbourhood Association, staff and partners. A new and improved splash pad and a new outdoor basketball court facility are also planned.
“In addition to these, we will keep the large multipurpose room, one attached large kitchen area and a joint library/community centre program space. The library will remain open during the construction and once the addition is completed,” Hildebrand added.
The expansion project is to be completed by 2019. The new project will see nearly 4,000 square feet of space renovated, while more than 6,000 square feet will be added on to the facility, bringing it to a total of 15,000 square feet, said Yvonne Fernandes, the outgoing councillor of the area.
“This will be the new chapter of the community centre’s history. Doon Pioneer Park Community Association have been trying to get the funding and approval for the expansion since 2008. After 10 years of their hard work, finally they are bestowed with this project.
“Council approved an expansion of the centre in 1999 and although competing capital projects have delayed the project in the past, it’s now time to move on with the expansion,” Fernandes stated.