Perth County Municipalities Receive Additional Funding for Community Centers


A trio of well-used community hubs in three Perth County municipalities will receive major upgrades following a joint funding announcement from Ottawa and Queen’s Park this week.

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A trio of well-used community hubs in three Perth County municipalities will receive major upgrades following a joint funding announcement from Ottawa and Queen’s Park this week.

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The federal and provincial governments on Tuesday released a list of 35 Ontario municipalities awaiting infrastructure funding, and local projects in West Perth, Perth South and Perth East are included.

The most significant of the three is a roughly $ 1.3 million plan to build a new multi-use pavilion near the ball fields in Mitchell’s Keterson Park, a project West Perth Mayor Walter McKenzie has said the community had been chatting since at least 2016.

“We have been waiting for this for a long time,” he said. “We looked at other municipalities that have these multi-purpose facilities and they are certainly a great asset.

The park is home to the local agricultural society’s annual fair, as well as a number of baseball teams. Park users have also expressed their willingness to fundraise for the improvements, McKenzie said, which will offset the municipality‘s portion of the project, about a third of the total cost.

Along with a new building that will replace the aging barns used by the farming company, the renovations will also include new toilets, a kitchen, basketball nets, storage space and an accessible path to the pavilion and ball fields.

“Accessibility is an important thing and is becoming more and more important all the time,” McKenzie said. “We thought we would do the trail and go around the diamonds which would provide accessibility for seniors and anyone with mobility issues.”

Site preparation will be a priority in the coming weeks, but McKenzie said it was too early to say when the new equipment will be ready for use.

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In South Perth, government funds will be used to renovate Downie Optimist Hall, a community center located halfway between St. Marys and Stratford. The renovations will include removing carpeted walls, repairing ceilings, adding accessible washrooms, new lighting and parking lot expansion.

The project will cost around $ 275,000 and will again be divided into three parts.

“The hall is a very well used facility and it was certainly starting to show its age,” said Mayor Robert Wilhelm, adding that the building often hosted fundraisers, weddings and other community events before the pandemic. “It will definitely be used once things open up again.”

The third project is the creation of a community gathering place and the extension of a trail near the Perth East recreation complex in Milverton. It will cost around $ 436,000.

The federal and provincial governments announced funding of $ 19.1 million and $ 15.9 million, respectively, on Tuesday. The local governments involved are paying an additional $ 13 million.

“Ensuring that Ontarians have access to recreational infrastructure is essential for the well-being and development of the community,” Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna said in a statement. “Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.


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