A sudden federal windfall has the City of Flin Flon switching plans for thousands in provincial grant money. Instead of just funding fixes at South Hudson Park, the money will be spent on the Centoba Park ball diamond after another grant allowed the City to fund both projects.
Earlier this summer, the City of Flin Flon announced plans to use funding through the Saskatchewan Municipal Economic Enhancement Program (MEEP) to rebuild the playground structure at South Hudson Park, working out to $29,177 – the maximum amount of funding allowed for Flin Flon, Sask. under the program. The MEEP funding must be used on programs within Saskatchewan, limiting what the council can do in a border community located mostly in Manitoba.
However, funds for the South Hudson project later came in through a different federal grant – the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), through the community, culture and recreation infrastructure stream.
“South Hudson is getting that money,” said Glenna Daschuk, the City of Flin Flon’s chief administrative officer.
“We’ll take whatever funding we can get. We just apply, every day, all day. Every so often, we get a letter back.”
“There’s two pots – the ICIP funding and the MEEP funding,” added Mayor Cal Huntley.
With $29,177 to be spent on the Saskatchewan side of the border burning a hole in the council’s pocket, the money will instead be spent on upgrading the ball diamonds at Centoba Park. The ballpark complex sits just barely south of the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border on the Saskatchewan side, making it eligible for funding – famously, foul balls hit at one of the three diamonds on site can be hit in Saskatchewan and land in Manitoba.
According to a project plan obtained by The Reminder, the project will include either repairing or replacing the fence around the diamonds, repairing and levelling the outfield and fixing water-related damage at the facility, including installing a drainage system. Some slo-pitch league games at the park this summer have been affected by standing water and large puddles, while years of water and rain has ground down the gravel in the infield.
The overall cost of the project sits at around $260,000. The MEEP funding will not cover all expenses, but the City is pursuing other grants to fill the gap. No firm funding commitments have yet been made aside from the MEEP money.
The work on the Centoba site won’t begin until next spring – the tentative start date for the work won’t be until May 1, 2021, with completion estimated to be at some point before Oct. 30, 2022, according to the City’s project plan. Funding for projects through MEEP must be spent and projects must be completed by March 2022.
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