Funding for Leaside rink takes centre ice
Three streams expected to fund arena
THE PROJECT TO expand the arena at Leaside Gardens is beginning to pick up momentum.
Last year, I reported the city and the province had agreed on a deal to carry out the transaction on the land next door. I am pleased to report that the deal closed this past February, and the property now belongs to the City of Toronto.
The next step is to fund the approximately $11 million construction cost.
I expect construction funds to come from three tracks: borrowings supported by anticipated revenues, capital funds reflecting declared policy priority and community fundraising and sponsorships.
The gardens board of management under the leadership of Leaside resident Paul Mercer has produced a business proposal — backed up by commitments from the three main user groups — that supports at least $6 million in commercial borrowing. That’s more than half way to our goal.
Earlier this year, I brought forward a motion at city hall’s social development and recreation committee to have the Leaside Gardens project classified as a priority project for the 2011 parks, forestry and recreation capital budget. This motion was endorsed by the full council at its February session. This should bring us close to our required total. The actual dollar value of the commitment, however, will not be known until the 2011 budget is set.
Meanwhile, the community is ramping up fundraising efforts. The latest success story is the sellout Yuk Yuk’s night in March pulled together by Leaside real estate agent Charlene Kalia. Thanks, Charlene.
The pace is picking up. Construction by 2012 is a realistic target.