MONCTON – The Moncton Wildcats contributed $1-million to the Downtown Events Centre, which will be the hockey team’s new home. The support is part of more than $1.6-million that Moncton has raised through a partnership campaign for the new facility since last October.
“We felt that being the major tenant [of the centre] that it’s important that we give back to this campaign, because it’s important to the community, so people can enjoy themselves at the plaza and then the events centre,” said Robert K. Irving, the president of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team.
“The Wildcats have had over 3.5 million fans come through the gates at the Coliseum and we look forward to welcoming millions more as we look forward to a new era downtown.”
The city launched its ‘Our Urban Heart’ campaign Wednesday, aiming to raise $5-million from private and community partners.
The $1.6-million raised included the Wildcats’ contribution and a $200,000 joint donation from the Moncton Rotary Club and the Moncton West and Riverview Rotary Club. The green space at the southern end of the Events Centre will be named Rotary Park in recognition of that contribution.
“This park will have a positive and lasting impact, not only on the immediate neighbourhood in downtown but on the quality of life of all Monctonians,” said Ian Franklin, president of the Moncton West and Riverview Rotary Club.
Other donors include CIBC, Dexter/Municipal Group of Companies, Tangerine Bank, Green Shield Canada, Bird Construction, Action Car & Truck Accessories, Glenwood Kitchen and several individuals.
This is the first time that Moncton is using such a fundraising campaign to finance an infrastructure investment, Mayor Dawn Arnold said. The mayor herself is a donor to the campaign. Some of the contributions already made are over three-to-five years, she said.
“I have total confidence that we will reach the $5-million goal,” she said. “[$1.6-million is] an excellent starting point for the campaign. We’re just launching it today. Typically campaigns like these will have a quiet phase for two years, so we just started in October, I think we’ve done very well.”
The city is currently seeking major gifts of $50,000 and above but plans to launch a campaign through which community members can make donations.
The community outreach will be launched when the city holds a public open house at the $110-million Downtown Events Centre in mid-to-late August or early September, Mayor Arnold said.
Aside from the Rotary Park, the facility will also have a plaza, a fire pit and the Ian Fowler Oval for ice skating, to be funded by a $1.1-million donation from Jon and Leslie Manship. Inside, a community gathering space of around 4,000 square feet will be available. The city is still looking for partners for two upstairs patios, a sports wall of fame, and a public art and garden space.
“By launching ‘Our Urban Heart’ campaign to support our Downtown Events Centre and plaza, we’re crossing a very important threshold as a community – we’re morphing from a large town into an important urban centre,” Mayor Arnold said.