New Prescott arena complex to be built this summer

The federal and provincial government representatives announce money to build a replacement for the Leo Boivin Community Center in Prescott, Ont. on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. (Town of Prescott/Zoom via Newswatch Group)

PRESCOTT – The federal and provincial governments have come to the table to help Prescott build a new recreation complex to replace the closed Leo Boivin Community Center.

Mayor Brett Todd emceed a virtual event at noon Wednesday peppered with hockey analogies as Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna announced $5.3 million for the town to build a replacement for the Leo Boivin Community Center.

The money is coming from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) from the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream, which will see the Ontario government contribute $4.4 million. The Town of Prescott is putting about $5 million into the project.

There’s a local fundraising drive of $3.2 million, which is 75 per cent toward its goal according to the fundraising co-chairs.

When the Leo Boivin closed in 2018, Mayor Brett Todd says it was one of the most “devastating days of my life” but “galvanized me” to get a new arena. Todd reminisced about his childhood at the old arena. The mayor lauded the team effort with South Grenville partners, saying that the “sky’s the limit” of what can be done regionally.

Augusta Township Mayor Doug Malanka added that the new arena will be “a boon to the whole region.” Leeds-Grenville Warden Roger Haley was also on the call.

MPP Steve Clark called it a “collegial event” for the region that will create a “new community focal point.”

Clark says he called Leo Boivin – the 88-year-old Prescott-born NHLer and namesake of the former arena – just before the news conference and he was “thrilled” with the announcement.

The center will seat 800 people and have a walking track as well as community rooms.

“I look forward to coming to the rink sometime. I won’t be skating but I’ll be cheering,” McKenna concluded.

Mayor Todd says pre-qualification for tenders should be out Friday and the plan is to have shovels in the ground by July with hopes of it being open by late 2022 or early 2023. “We’re not fooling around.”

The entire community center will cost a total of approximately $14.5 million.

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