2.02 – History and Background
Calgary Rotary Challenger Park (CRCP) is a predominantly barrier free recreation, sport and wellness facility that was built to be a model of inclusiveness for the community. The idea was conceived in 1997 and began development in 1999 with the support of the Rotary Clubs of Calgary and Airdrie. It was felt that people with disabilities required a level playing field that incorporates breaking down barriers in all areas. The Park is a facility designed to ensure that ALL individuals, including those with disabilities, will have access to ALL of the amenities and services that are afforded to others in the community. The Park is intended to be a place, “Where Everyone Can Play”.
Rotary Challenger Park Development Society (RCPDS) was incorporated as a Society pursuant to The Societies Act (Alberta) in 1999. The Societies founding partners are recognized to be: Rotary Clubs of Calgary and Airdrie, Calgary Airport Authority and Parks Foundation Calgary. The Society was formed to assess the need, design, raise funds and build the facilities, in collaboration with the City. The Society became a registered charity in 2005 and changed its’ name to Calgary Rotary Challenger Park Society, as part of moving to the operational stage of the Park.
The Calgary Airport Authority leases the land from Transport Canada and in turn, in support of the Society, subleases the land for a nominal consideration of $1 per year to the City of Calgary. The lands, now 23+ acres, are located on the Northwest corner of McKnight Blvd. and 36th Street NE, Calgary.
The City of Calgary in turn entered into a Management and Operating Agreement with the Society wherein RCPDS/CRCPS provided the leadership to raise the funds required for the construction of the Park and then was responsible for construction, maintenance, management and operation of the Park. The City, as part of the agreement, monitored its’ construction and monitors its’ subsequent maintenance, and operations of the Park. The City also contributes financially to the Park’s operation. The City reviews this funding on a periodic basis.
Parks Foundation Calgary provided its expertise in park development; critical financial management of the funds received along with contributing $250,000 to the Park’s capital campaign. The Rotary Clubs of Calgary and Airdrie provided much of the leadership needed to design the Park and raised $1.5+M towards building the facilities. Many supporting organizations such as Challenger Little League, Special Olympics Calgary and other agencies assisting people with disabilities were involved in all aspects of the project initially, to insure that the environmental and physical needs were met for some of those who ultimately utilize the Park.
Other major sources of funding were $8.5M provided by the Province of Alberta and Federal Government and $5.2+M from Foundations, not-for-profit organizations, corporations and individuals. The Project will be completed in the spring of 2009.
Construction occurred in three (3) main phases beginning in 2001, with a smaller mini-phase (3D) completed in 2009. Below is a brief outline of the major components of each phase.
Phase 1 – Included construction of two (2) ball diamonds, including a concession,spectator bleachers and the Alberta Centennial Centre to serve the ball diamonds.
Phase 2 – Included construction of the Jim and Pearl Burns Centre (including a 200 stall parking area), a large open plaza, basketball court, two (2) tennis courts, picnic area and a unique playground.
Phase 3 – Included construction of a 400M track, soccer/football field, spectator bleachers and the Canada Alberta Century Field House.
Phase 3D – Included construction of the “field” events area for Track and Field (i.e. the throwing and jumping events).