Just about everyone was present at the groundbreaking ceremony for the long awaited expansion of the
New Sarepta Agriplex.
Recently MP's, MLA's, Mayors and Councillors found their way to the hamlet of New Sarepta to help the residents move a little dirt. The New Sarepta Agriplex has been in need of some upgrades and expansion for a great while and on Wednesday, April 3rd the much awaited time had finally arrived.
The New Sarepta agriplex serves the entire eastern end of Leduc County and according to County financials, this side of the county has been severely underfunded in recreation dollars for many years. Whereas other parts of the county range between approximately $75.00 – $220.00 per capita for funded recreation dollars, New Sarepta has been operating with just over $7.00 per capita.
After a quick tour of the existing facilities that are to be revamped, including the tiny change rooms with a shared shower and bathroom area which will be turned into storage rooms, everyone moved upstairs into the banquet room for the official announcement.
MP Blaine Calkins was the first person to the microphone acknowledging that he might not be the MP representing this region but the residents have so graciously involved him in so many different things over the years that he felt very honoured to be invited to New Sarepta for this happy occasion as well. Blaine said that when dealing with small communities, the heart and soul is their agricultural society. He drew a laugh from the crowd when he quoted "If you build it they will come! And I know that's what will happen here."
In his comments the MLA for Leduc/Beaumont George Rogers congratulated the County of Leduc for their vision and partnership in this project, and then County Mayor John Whaley got honest and uncensored by stating that Dean Ohnysty and Jocelyn Mackay (Director of Parks and Rec for the County and New Sarepta area County Councillor respectively) had gone through "quite a bit of crap" over the last while to get this expansion done.
Councillor Mackay responded by placing the credit firmly back onto the area residents. "I just want to say that the ones who deserve the thanks for this are the community, the seniors, and the Ag Society. I congratulate all of you!" she stated.
Ag Society President Craig Millar believes the expansion will strengthen the community by attracting people and events from outside of New Sarepta and Leduc County. He avowed "We'll fill this building once it's built and the usage will be great!"
The original agriplex was erected in 1972 with renovations taking place over the years. The current expansion is expected to take approximately 10 months, with new change rooms hopefully competed this fall in time for hockey season, and the grand opening of the fully finished expansion taking place in February of 2014.