Metro/Bernice Pontanilla Kent Road School Grade 6 students Tessa (left) and Jean with the cheque for $738.65 raised by the students and given to the City of Winnipeg towards rebuilding East Elmwood Community Centre.

New memories in a new facility is what life-long Elmwood resident and mom Jodi Chartrand said she’s most looking forward to with the announcement on Tuesday that the East Elmwood Community Centre will receive $5 million to rebuild.

Chartrand, the soccer convener for the East Elmwood CC, was one of dozens of residents, teachers and students who attended a press conference at Kent Road School where Mayor Sam Katz, Concordia MLA Matt Wiebe and Coun. Thomas Steen (Elmwood-East Kildonan) praised the community for their patience as the two levels of government sorted out the funding.

“As part of the board, we are ecstatic that this has happened, it’s been almost two years since our club burnt down, our children haven’t had any place to go and play, and just do things that kids normally do,” said Chartrand.

“A lot of my memories were burnt up in that fire too, but it’s nice that the kids will have a place for new memories and a place just to go and be kids.”

Students Sierra and Jean opened Tuesday’s press conference by talking about the loss to the local community and their fundraising effort, which totaled $738.65.

“I saw lots of smoke and I thought it was a huge black cloud,” said Jean, in Grade 6.

“I was so sad because I wondered who would do such a thing as burn down our club.”

Marlene Amell, executive director of the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres, said while the plan is to finalize the design in 2013 and start construction in 2014, she hopes the shovels will be in the ground sooner.

“The fire meant that they absolutely did not have a facility to go to in this area and it’s one of the areas that really, really does need a community centre and the programs that they can offer,” said Amell.

“It’s unfortunate that it did take this long but we’re really looking forward to putting this on fast-track and getting them a facility that they deserve.”

The $5 million in funding for the project is being split between the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba, and the new club is expected to be about 10,000 square-feet and will likely include a regulation-size gymnasium, multi-purpose rooms, dressing rooms and an outdoor rink.

Part of the funds for the new East Elmwood CC were originally set aside for a controversial water park at The Forks, however, in the recent City of Winnipeg preliminary budget, the decision was made to disperse the $7 million between this club and projects on other centres in other wards.

Amell said she applauds this decision by Katz and councillors.

“I would say it’s one of the best decisions that’s been made in a long time, so yes, very much in favour of that,” she added.

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