The City of Dryden says work on the Dryden Memorial Arena and Recreation Centre is expected to continue into 2023, after a $3.6 million investment from the federal and provincial governments.

Staff with the City of Dryden were joined by Kenora-Rainy River MPP, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Energy and Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford in-person, as well as Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Marcus Powlowski and Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott, who were representing Ottawa virtually during the announcement, made within the arena.

“We all truly believe that this project will move us closer to becoming a fully-inclusive, safe and sustainable recreation center,” said Mayor Greg Wilson.

Wilson explains the work on the recreation center and the arena will include four new accessible change-rooms, a new community hall space above an ice surface with washrooms and elevator access, and a replacement of a variety of ageing mechanical systems within the facility.

“On behalf of Dryden City Council, staff and the citizens of Dryden, I wish to thank the federal government through MP Powlowski, and the province through Minister Rickford for following through on commitments to tangibly support this project.”

Minister Rickford adds the federal and provincial governments are providing $3.6 million for the expansion and retrofit, while the City of Dryden will be on the hook for the remainder of the $4.9 million project.

“These projects are never about us as the funders,” says Rickford. “They’re about the people behind me and the young people who are going to experience an enhanced recreation facility. These projects offer hope and promise that as we as a community come out of [COVID-19], we’re going to experience an amazing place.”

Community Services Manager Steve Belanger says mechanical improvements, set to continue into 2022, include a combined heat and power station which will allow the arena to generate its own heat and electricity, resulting in a cost savings of about $190,000 per year.

Due to the arena’s shutdown, last March, city staff have been able to replace and install flooring in Arena #1 and a new walking track, with funds raised by the DREAM Committee. DREAM has been working to raise money to improve the Dryden Memorial Arena since 2016.

Other improvements have included the installation of new automatic sliding glass doors in entranceways, painting, washroom upgrades with improved handicap access, and Dressing Room #10, a special change-room in memory of Jacob and Mark Lugli of Dryden.

The DREAM team hit their $500,000 goal in December of 2019 after a $200,000 donation from the Kurz family. Overall, Drydenites were able to raise over $325,000 between 2016 and 2019 through a number of regional and local donations and events, prior to the Kurz’ donation.

“At the grass-roots level, the DREAM Committee, representing the volunteer component of this federal, provincial and municipal partnership for our Recreation Centre has always been a critical support mechanism for the city. Their ability to fundraise $500,000 reflects this town’s vitality and commitment to the overall health of its citizens,” adds Belanger.

Dryden’s DREAM organization is continuing to fundraise throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Community members are able to donate to the Dryden DREAM Committee by making a donation to the City of Dryden, and it’s eligible for a tax receipt.

The provincial and federal governments also provided funding for the Dryden Go-Getter Seniors Activity Centre for a 2,500 square foot addition to the building. It aims to improve accessibility and to provide more space for activities.

For more information:
DREAM opens Lugli’s Locker Room in honour of family
The DREAM comes true in Dryden