After decades of fundraising, Edmonton’s new Knottwood Community Center celebrates its opening – Edmonton Pipa News

After decades of fundraising, Edmonton’s new Knottwood Community Center celebrates its opening – Edmonton

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Saturday during the construction of a new community center in the Knotwood neighborhood of southeast Edmonton.

“I think it’s amazing. When I walked in, I felt energized,” said Knottwood resident Brenda Kaufman. “I felt all the hard work and blessings that went into this building.”

“I’m excited, I’m playing in the crib with a lot of people from the neighborhood and we’re looking for a cool new place to play,” said fellow resident Jamie Wichert.

The grand opening coincided with Community League Day, a time when leagues across the city celebrate community.

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But for the Knottwood Community League, it’s an important celebration. He started fundraising decades ago after knocking down his previously used aging building.

“We couldn’t do much in the little building, it was a daycare, and sometimes it would be a precedent on other programs because that’s how we made money and it was a priority at the time,” Kaufman said. “But as our community league has evolved, our community and our demographics have evolved, we have more seniors and singles.”

The new center includes a 2,500 square foot hall, fireside lounge, accessible restrooms and a large kitchen.

“We have a gathering place, we have a place where older people can have fun, children can congregate in a safe and accessible way. It’s about getting to know and eat our neighbours,” said Knottwood Community League President Thomas Shaw. A welcoming place to hold events like cooking and more.

With funds raised by the Community League and support from the city and other levels of government, the project took 10 months to build.

“It’s a community initiative,” said Edmonton Mayor Amarjit Sohi. “They organized the community, they raised resources, they raised funds and they brought the province and the federal government together.”

“I think a lot of leagues are looking at Knottwood with envy, and I think we’re really going to look at the model and think about how we can bring the league together to talk about it. Aging infrastructure is our concern. The subject is,” said Laura Cunningham-Shepley, general manager of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues.

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The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues said it was a concern it was working on.

“We are working with the City of Edmonton to understand not only what infrastructure processes are needed, but also how we can leverage other avenues to find funding and grants,” Cunningham-Shepley said.

And while other communities look to improve their centers, Knottwood hopes to eventually use its new center.

“We wanted something that was accessible to everyone, we needed something close, a lot of people in the community don’t have a car or don’t have the money to go to town,” Kaufman said. “It’s going to be a huge help in bringing all these people together and staying connected and strong going forward.”

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Jill E. Washington