Shooting for the Stars

Published with permission of the Melfort Journal
Treena Carson the manager of the Melfort Multi Use fundraising campaign shows a thermometer displaying how much has already been raised towards the facility. About one third has already been raised towards the $1.2 million goal.
Treena Carson the manager of the Melfort Multi Use fundraising campaign shows a thermometer displaying how much has already been raised towards the facility. About one third has already been raised towards the $1.2 million goal



The stars were out in full force Saturday as the Melfort Multi-Use Facility fundraising committee kicked off their campaign in style.

Spotlights, camera flashes and media firing off questions greeted participants who entered the North East Leisure Centre along a red carpet.

"It was a gala event. I thought it was really neat. The grand entrance with Bill (Wood) and the paparazzi, the only thing they were missing were the big spotlights on the street and the odd limousine coming up," said Fred Fedosoff who was representing Melfort MLA Rod Gantefoer at the event.

The provincial government is kicking in about $2.146 million through the Building Communities program of the former government and the Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport program of the current government.

About 150 people came out to the event which marked the beginning of a six-month fundraising campaign to raise $1.2 million for the Multi-Use Facility being erected right behind the gym where the wine and cheese was being enjoyed.

Jim Thiessen, co-chair of the fundraising committee, along with Gailmarie Anderson, was happy to see so many people out to the kickoff event.

"It is great to see people out tonight having a good time," he said.

The goal of the committee is to raise $1.2 million, but at the kickoff it was announced that the committee has already secured $400,000.

"It is really thrilling to come to an event like this and see that they are already one-third of the way to their goal," said Heather Audette with the 2006 Saskatchewan Winter Games Legacy Committee.

She said the Legacy committee always toyed with the idea of establishing some sort of outdoor community gathering area.

"We thought we would marry that with the facility and our contribution ($80,000) is going towards the amphitheatre, stage and pavilion," Audette said.

The fundraising committee, provincial government, Winter Games Legacy Committee are all partnering with the City of Melfort to garner funds to build the facility.

Melfort Mayor Kevin Phillips said having $400,000 at the start of the fundraising campaign speaks volumes of the community.

"Really that talks about community. I think people either have fallen in love with this building or are going to fall in love with this building. It is something that is going to change Melfort," Phillips said.

The City of Melfort has contributed $7.8 million towards the overall project.

At the kickoff the committee has another $800,000 to raise and Thiessen said events to help raise those funds are not finalized yet, but should be fun.

"There are lots of ideas. We were concentrating the last month on making sure the launch went well tonight," he said.

"We haven't decided on anything specific but there will be lots of things."

Stars seemed to be a theme for the night and it became clear when the slogan for the fundraising campaign was announced. It is being called a Facility for the Stars and stars is an acronym for Sport, Tourism, Art, Recreation and Service.

A big part of the fundraising so far has been due to businesses and community groups stepping forward as key sponsors.

Leading the way is Gold Sponsor The Melfort Journal with a contribution of over $25,000.

Some naming rights to areas of the building have already been taken. Greenland Waste Management has donated $20,000 to the campaign and granted exclusive naming rights to the green room.

Also with naming rights is the Melfort Rotary Club with a donation of $20,000 and will be granted exclusive naming rights to the Multi-Use facility atrium.

Phillips said having groups like those step up financially is something this community has become known for.

"The support we have received is almost something you come to expect because they have done it before. They have been involved in big projects before and it is great to see."

Another part of the fundraising is sale of seats in the theatre and naming rights to various areas of the new facility which is expected to be finished in the fall of 2009.

Helping with the future fundraising events is the fact the building is starting to take shape.

"I think people in the community see that so that starts to build some excitement, but more importantly the volunteers are out there starting to make contact. So the fact we have spent so very little time starting the campaign, this number ($400,000) is a great start and it shows the energy and excitement that is out there," Thiessen said.