Earlier this week, Mayor Nenshi and City Council took a major step toward creating a much-needed and long-overdue new central public library in Calgary--they approved a site and committed $175 million to the new library. The new location will be in the edge of the East Village just east of the Calgary Municipal Building and close by the new City Hall CTrain station.
Much more than just a place to hold books, the new central library will also be a site that caters to the arts, literacy, education, and cultural needs of our growing 1.1 million person community. (Did you know that the old central library was built for a community just one-third Calgary's current size and well before the Internet?!) Modern libraries are also vital public spaces that host an array of programs and services where technology, space, art, performance, discovery, and dialogue converge.
And what's more, the vision for the new central library is to make it a cornerstone of a new cultural campus with significant exhibit and performing arts spaces. And while City Council has made a significant investment into the library itself, this vision requires the private sector and other levels of government to step up as well.
The Calgary Public Library expects to be breaking ground on this new facility as early as next year. It's a fitting timeline since 2012 will also be the 100th anniversary of this important community institution.
Community Investment Fund
The new central library is made possible for a major new fund created by City Council to invest in sorely-needed community facilities. Parks, recreation centres, fire halls, community halls and sports fields are such important parts of our communities yet they receive no sustainable funding whether it be for new projects or maintenance.
As part of Mayor Nenshi's commitment to transform government and focus on vibrant and healthy urban communities, City Council created the new Community Investment Fund. Over the next six years, the City will use the fund to invest $252 million into tangible and useful community improvements. Here's the Council-approved list of projects:
- New Central Library - $135 Million *
- Four New P3 Recreation Centres (three in SE and one in NW) - $25 Million *
- Capital Civic Partners Grant Project** - $17.1 Million
- Aquatic Facilities - $12.45 Million
- upgrades to Shouldice, Glenmore and Acadia Pools
- redesign consultation for Beltline and Inglewood Pools
- Community Associations and Recreation Groups (lifecycle) - $12 Million
- Arenas - $9.9 Million
- upgrades to Ernie Starr, Henry Viney and Frank McCool
- Bowness Park (restoration and redevelopment) - $9.45 Million
- Laycock Park (restoration of natural wetlands) - $6.95 Million
- Playground Lifecycle and Wading Pool Retrofits (city-wide) - $5.45 Million
- Parks Lifecycle (city-wide) - $4.7 Million
- Athletic Fields Irrigation (city-wide) - $3.8 Million
- Sport Fields Lifecycle and Renovations (city-wide) - $3.6 Million
- Lifecycle Personal Protective Equipment for Firefighters (city-wide) - $3.6 Million
- Fire Station #1 Rehabilitation - $3 Million
TOTAL - $252 Million
* In addition to grants already made
** This is a new grant project that will be available to City of Calgary Civic Partners to assist with ongoing lifecycle maintenance needs to their existing facility.
The Community Investment Fund is designed to be a sustainable and regular source of funding for investments into the facilities that make living in Calgary so great. This is a big change from previous funding that was inconsistent and based on grants from other levels of government which left Calgary with billions of unfunded community projects whether it be new rec centres or repairing leaky roofs. Every year, Council will review the list of funded projects to see what can be added or adjusted.
Whether it's playgrounds or pools, we use these important facilities in our communities every day. Council's commitment to the Community Investment Fund is an important part of making Calgary even better.
- Daorcey from Mayor Nenshi's team