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Grenfell Arena

Grenfell arena no longer shows its age.

The home of the Grenfell Spitfires is looking pretty spiffy from top to bottom.

The Grenfell Regional Park arena has received more than $600,000 in upgrades, from a new ceiling all the way down to new flooring in the change rooms, and all kinds of improvements in between.

"The building is 35 years old and it was showing its age," Grenfell's Recreation and Economic Development manager Danean Schutz said, explaining the need for the improvements.

The arena's roof was leaking and needed to be patched.

Among the most important improvements was a new energy-efficient ceiling, which Schutz said has already resulted in savings of around 20 per cent on the arena's energy bills.

New lighting was also installed.

The boards and glass around the ice surface were also replaced in time for last year's hockey season, a change that was well-received by the spectators and likely even the players getting body checked into them.

Other improvements included replacing a number of windows and door frames.

"You could basically see daylight around the doors," she said.

The upgrades aren't totally complete yet. A lift to help seniors and the mobility-impaired navigate the staircases is yet to be installed. There will fresh paint outside and inside the building, and new rubber flooring installed in the change rooms and lobby.

The arena is located within the Grenfell Regional Park, right next to the town's outdoor pool. There is a new boiler to heat the pool, which sees swimmers come from not only the town, but surrounding communities.

"We're the only swimming pool probably from Moosomin to Indian Head," Schutz said.

The arena gets a lot of use in the summer months, because campers, swimmers and the occasional hitchhiker use the change rooms and washroom facilities in the arena facility.

The arena is also used for weddings and other community events, like a yearly fall fair.

Schutz noted that arenas like the one in Grenfell are a significant factor when it comes to the overall quality of life in smaller communities.

"These facilities are essential," she said. "For people to move to a small town, there has to be something there for them to do."

The upgrades to the Grenfell Regional Park arena cost $604,700. The cost was split equally between the town, the provincial government and the federal government, with each putting in $201,566.

The federal government's share came out of the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program, which was developed to enhance Canada's recreational facilities like arenas, athletic fields and swimming pools. In Saskatchewan, the provincial government provided matching RInC funding for this project.

Schutz said it was a very good day when the town learned it had qualified for the grant funding from the provincial and federal governments.

"We were very happy that the grant was available and we were able to take advantage of it," Schutz said.

The provincial and federal grant allowed the town to undertake more extensive upgrades than it would have otherwise been able to afford.

"The roof was leaking, we would have had to come up with the money for that somehow," she said. "For the other things, it would have taken forever to pay for them."

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