$11M youth rec centre in the works
A Christian group is hoping to build a multimillion-dollar, non-denominational recreation centre for youth in the heart of one of Winnipeg's most hardscrabble areas.
Currently, Youth for Christ operates more than a dozen small rec centres in the city.
But on Wednesday, a handful of councillors on city hall's executive policy committee gave the green light to contribute land at the corner of Higgins Avenue and Main Street toward the project, as well as approve a $2.5 million loan to the organization.
The faith-based group says the facility would house an indoor skateboarding park as well as a performance-art studio and job-training centre.
Youth for Christ officials have committed to opening the facility's doors to all Winnipeg youth, not just those of the Christian faith.
"The programs are open to youth regardless of their spiritual orientation or [if they are] deniers," said John Courtney, executive director of Youth for Christ.
"You'd never be excluded because you didn't want the Christian faith or you didn't want to pursue that," he said.
Courtney said the federal government has agreed to provide $3 million of the project's $11-million total cost. A fundraising campaign is also about to begin, he added.
The city's contributions of the loan and land must still be approved by city council as a whole.
Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said the centre would be a boon to an area that's surrounded by neighbourhoods many of the city's most disadvantaged youth call home.
"It's in a location that certainly needs recreational facilities," Katz said. "It's a good project."