Rankin Centre launches new ice rink fundraiser
SEAN CHASE/DAILY OBSERVER The Rankin Culture and Recreation Centre is planning to build a new outdoor rink and hopes to raise more than $140,000 in the next few months. Standing near the old rink's surface are (left to right) centre treasurer Muriel Verch, treasurer Dawnalda Siegel, vice-president Marlyn Sauk, president Sandra Johnstone and rink fundraising chairwoman Kellie Hisko-Benoit.
The Rankin Culture and Recreation Centre is embarking on the most ambitious fundraising project since rebuilding their hall.
If they can raise the money in the next few months, volunteers will push ahead with plans to improve the rink area with a new surface and boards and the addition of a roof. The current rink's infrastructure, in place since 1987, had fallen into such a state that the centre's executive decided it was time to remedy the situation.
“They were beyond repair and they were not going to be sustainable over time,” said Kellie Hisko-Benoit, chairwoman of the fundraising committee.
The project will cost an estimated $140,000. Between now and November, the centre will stage several fundraisers, while it attempts to secure a loan so they begin work immediately. The rink could be ready as early as next January in time for the popular Rankin winter carnival.
“We would really like to participate in the festival with an outdoor rink,” added Hisko-Benoit.
The community has pulled it off before. It was 10 years ago that the centre's original banquet hall, built after the rink was established in 1963, was razed to the ground by fire. The present $1.6 million centre, which officially opened its doors 2013, has the reputation as one of the Ottawa Valley's newest state-of-the-art facilities.
“We're hoping the people will rise to the challenge again,” said Hisko-Benoit.
In recent years, the hall sometimes overshadowed the rink. But when the snow flies and the surface is flooded, the 'Rink,' as it is nicknamed by locals, becomes the focal point of the community.
“It is an important part of our community,” declared the centre's president, Sandra Johnstone. “A lot of people didn't even know we had a rink back here.”
Due to the enormous scale of the initiative, the project will be broken down into three phases. With the wooden boards ripped out and gone, the first phase is already underway. The ashpalt surface will be removed and replaced with a cement pad creating a curb for the rink board to anchor to. With a cement pad, the centre will paint lines that could offer basketball and ball hockey during the summer months. The second phase will be the purchase and installation of fibreglass boards, gates, netting and fencing. The third phase will see the eventual erection of a roof or overhang shelter with improvements to the seating area.
“It is something we have to do quickly because we wanted it ready for the winter,” added Johnstone.
The committee has also made a submission to Kraft Project Play, an initiative the company has launched with TSN that could see the grand prize winner receive $250,000 for their recreational facility upgrade and three secondary prize winners each receive $25,000 towards their recreational facility upgrade. In addition, the executive is also exploring various grant applications.
As part of its fundraising campaign, the Rankin Centre will be hosting a fishing derby at Biederman Park on Saturday, July 11. Next will be a Show-and-Shine at the centre on Sunday, July 26. A golf tournament will be held at the Whitetail Golf Club in Eganville on Saturday, Sept. 12. Two Apple Extravaganzas will be hosted on Friday, Oct. 4 and Sunday, Oct. 6 at the centre. This will be followed by a basket auction on Tuesday, Nov. 3 and a Victoria Tea on Thursday, Nov. 17.
For more information on how you can help or make a donation, called Kellie Hisko-Benoit at 613-732-9739 or check the website at www.rankincentre.ca.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist