The long-awaited renovations to Rutland Centennial Hall are a step closer to reality.
On Tuesday, Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan announced a federal grant of more than $270,000 to the Rutland Park Society to assist with improvements to the interior of the 48-year-old facility.
“Rutland has always had some unique characteristics, in particular this hall,” said Cannan. “This will help improve the facility and benefit families and residents for years to come.”
The money comes from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, designed to assist in rehabilitating community facilities across the country.
The grant matches the $273,586 in funds the Rutland Park Society already has in place for improvements to the hall.
RPS president Todd Sanderson said the additional funds are a significant boost for not only the hall itself but those who live in the community.
“Hopefully it means a sustainable hall that can serve as a focal point for the community,” said Sanderson. “This place used to be home to weekend after weekend of weddings and different celebrations, and with its age and its acoustics, it doesn’t really meet up with what people want today.
“These renovations will allow us to bring it up to a sustainable level and use the funds to maintain it.”
Sanderson said upgrades at the hall will include full renovations of the kitchen and bar, upgrading of the stage area, construction of additional storage space and refinishing of the hardwood floors.
Along with other initiatives, such as improvements to the park and playground areas of Centennial Park, and the establishment of Roxby Square, Sanderson said Rutland should only become a more vibrant and attractive place to live and do business.
“In conjunction with what we’re doing, the city is committed to spending a ton of money on the park, so when the work there is done you’re going to have a lot more families and a lot more people playing out there,” he said. “I know there’s a bit of a buzz, not only in the community but with developers, as to what could happen in Rutland.
“We have a beautiful park that’s going to be done and with this building as the focal point, people are starting to talk a little bit more.”
As part of the Canada 150 program, Cannan also announced Tuesday $30,000 in funding for the Okanagan Trail Riders and $20,000 to Friends of the South Slopes Society.