Winnipeg's Corydon Community Centre wants to take over the Grant Park Arena and turn it into a twin-plex community arena.

The facility, now known as the Charles A. Barbour Arena, is one of the oldest in Winnipeg.

Pat O'Connor, the executive director of the Corydon Community Centre (CCC), says the city asked for expressions of interest to run a number of arenas about a year ago.

O'Connor said the CCC, which is an amalgamation of the Sir John Franklin, River Heights and Crescentwood community centres, is working on a plan that would see a twin-plex facility built next to the existing arena.

The old one would then be demolished.

"It's pretty exciting. We have a real need for more ice time in the area, there's no doubt about it, and we would hate to see Charlie Barbour just get closed and not do something about it," O'Connor said.

The nearby River Heights Arena sees about 60 hockey teams come through during a season, and ice time is at a premium.

"For practice time, we’re travelling all over the province to get ice, so it would be really nice to get a state-of-the-art, brand-new facility right in our backyard," said O’Connor.

O’Connor estimates the facility would cost about $15 million initially, but said that money would not come from residents in the area.

"We anticipate it will involve multiple levels of government, as well as some public money to make it work, but that’s still a work in progress," said O’Connor.

O’Connor added they would operate the facility with grants from the city.

Peter Woods of Hockey Manitoba said the model could be useful for a number of aging arenas across Winnipeg.

Woods said even arenas in Winnipeg’s poorer areas could benefit from similar plans.

"Well, they’ll certainly need a different sort of funding model — probably have to be supported a little bit more by the city, but there are opportunities out there," said Woods.

Tim Kileen, the president of the General Council of Winnipeg Community Centres, said the plan to build the twin-plex would be "very beneficial indeed."


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