Red Deer County News

Posted on: July 7, 2017

County Approves Funding For Benalto Train Station

Benalto Train Station.jpg

At the June 6 Council meeting, Red Deer County approved a request from the Benalto Booster club for $75,000 to help finish the Benalto Train Station. The station was originally built in 1928 and moved out of Benalto in 1971. Local residents offered the station back to the community in 2012, and the Booster Club saw an opportunity to provide Benalto with a gathering place and recreational facility.

The renovated and rebuilt train station will offer a recreation centre, museum and archives, and a small event space. Apart from an older-era 1960’s community hall, Benalto has no recreational centre for young and old to gather for special events. According to a County report, Benalto has over 500 residents that could greatly benefit from this facility as the nearest recreational facilities are in Eckville or Sylvan Lake. It will also be a space available for neighbouring communities, addressing an additional population of over 15,000. The station was placed on a newly built foundation, which provides a walkout basement that faces an outdoor skating rink. The downstairs space will host a place for skaters to put on equipment and warm up; washroom facilities; and an area for youth groups to host activities.

In the summer, the adjacent green space can be used for outdoor activities. The upstairs space will offer a place for seniors and other community groups to come and meet, and could also be rented out for small gatherings, including weddings, birthday parties, etc. Benalto has a rich history which will be showcased throughout the museum section of the station through didactic panels outlining the area’s history and evolution. Archives will also be hosted containing the important history and life of the community. The full-surround balcony will provide a beautiful panorama of the Medicine Valley with its view toward the Rocky Mountains, offering a wonderful backdrop for artists and others to enjoy.

The project began in 2013 and is over 2/3 complete. Five phases were planned – the last phase is final construction and completion to be done in 2017 and 2018. Half of Phase 5 construction is complete and looking to achieve a turn-key result with a grand opening.

The Benalto Booster Club has fundraised $104,000 to date and is continuing with multiple fundraising campaigns to raise money for this project. Additional fundraising is being done through the sale of the painting pictured above and the Booster Club is also applying for a CFEP grant from Alberta Culture & Tourism to help cover final construction costs. This requested funding must be matched by other funding sources.

In 2013, Red Deer County contributed a $27,987.28 Rural Capital Assistance Grant towards the cost of a foundation and moving the station to its new foundation. Another Rural Capital Assistance Grant of $86,175.98 was approved in 2015 by Red Deer County Council to complete sanitary sewer installation at the Benalto Train Station.

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