Fieldhouse plan for Foothills park clears hurdle

A plan to build a $200-million fieldhouse at an athletic park in northwest Calgary has cleared an important hurdle at city hall.

$200M indoor multisport complex for northwest Calgary still not funded

City council approved a plan to locate a $200-million fieldhouse at Foothills Athletic Park. (Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society )

A plan to build a $200-million fieldhouse at an athletic park in northwest Calgary has cleared an important hurdle at city hall.

The community and protective services committee voted Wednesday in favour of locating the facility at Foothills Athletic Park at University Drive and 24th Avenue N.W.

Aldermen also agreed to move the proposal up on the list of priority projects for improving the city’s athletic parks.

The head of the Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society — the group pushing to get the project built — said she's pleased, but cautioned there's still a long way to go.

"I think the most optimistic time frame is probably still five years out, because the funding hasn't been found yet," said Donna Dixon.

"But there's a lot of support from the city, council and administration to look very hard at trying to find funding sources."

The proposed fieldhouse would have a 400-metre running track, full-sized soccer pitch, space for other sports such as basketball and tennis, plus seating for 10,000 spectators.

In 2010, the city announced a 10-year, $450-million redevelopment plan for Foothills Athletic Park, as well as Glenmore Athletic Park at 50th Avenue and 19th Street S.W.

Wednesday’s vote made the fieldhouse plan a top priority.

But Ald. Brian Pincott said he's worried other improvements will now have to wait until funding is secured for the fieldhouse.

"Putting the fieldhouse first means we're going to have to find a great gob of money for that first. You need to find $200 million for a fieldhouse, and we need to find $300 to 400 million for the rest of it," he said.

Aldermen agreed to look at various financing models, including public-private partnerships and corporate sponsorship.

The committee also decided the Foothills baseball stadium — vacant since the demise of the Calgary Vipers in 2011 — will be torn down, but no date was set.

That site will become the staging ground to build the fieldhouse.

A map of the Foothills Athletic Park showing how it could be reconfigured. (City of Calgary )