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New city committee will focus on building fieldhouse in Foothills Athletic Park

An illustration, created in 2019, depicts the layout of the proposed fieldhouse for the Foothills Athletic Park. (Supplied) An illustration, created in 2019, depicts the layout of the proposed fieldhouse for the Foothills Athletic Park. (Supplied)
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A new committee to be officially created next month will hope to push a proposal for a new fieldhouse in Calgary across the finish line.

The Foothills Athletic Park redevelopment assessment committee met for the final time Monday to wrap up its work looking at the entire area.

A plan proposed in 2019 looked at redeveloping and revamping the entire area, including Father David Bauer Arena and McMahon Stadium. The new committee fill focus solely on prioritizing the fieldhouse work, which could be built where the current Foothills baseball stadium sits.

"We will be doing some amenity refinement, meeting with our sport groups and external stakeholders, figuring out exactly what that fieldhouse is going to look like in terms of how many courts it will have, how big the track will be," said Ward 3 Coun. Jasmine Mian.

When it was pitched in 2019, the cost for a fieldhouse was estimated to be $285 million. That price tag has undoubtedly increased with inflationary pressures, officials told the committee, though a new cost hasn't been figured out yet.

The investment would be worthwhile, according to some sport groups.

"We couldn't be more excited about this. It's something we've been waiting for for a long time and something, really, that's dearly needed," said Paula McKenzie with Calgary Track and Field.

McKenzie said the association isn't able to meet the demand for people who want to take part in the sport year-round. They've simply run out of indoor track room given the facilities the city has currently.

Tourism Calgary has also said a new fieldhouse could bring in about $20 million annually to the city when various events are held.

"If we did have a dedicated fieldhouse, if we had a dedicated indoor track and field facility, we could easily attract these national and international events," McKenzie added.

City officials said there's about $109 million in funding set aside for a new fieldhouse, but they're hoping the provincial and federal governments will step up to the plate to provide money.

“This is a project that is for everyday Calgarians," said Mian.

"This is where your minor soccer families and parents, who right now are driving to Edmonton and have been doing that for far too long. And so getting a project started and built sooner than later is always a priority.”

The new committee will be established at the Feb. 14 council meeting.

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