Nenshi hopes to fund fieldhouse in next Calgary budget

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he hopes there's room in Calgary's upcoming four-year budget for a new multi-sport fieldhouse.

"Oh I think we need one. No question," the mayor said Wednesday.

In 2013, the city's community and protective services committee​ voted in favour of constructing a $200-million facility at Foothills Athletic Park at University Drive and 24th Avenue N.W., close to both McMahon Stadium and the University of Calgary, as well as the C-Train line.

The Calgary Flames owners have estimated the costs of a stand-alone fieldhouse could be higher than the city's estimate, suggesting it could cost as much as $260 million. 

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Nenshi said now that the last of four new rec centres elsewhere in the city is set to open in a few months, the fieldhouse will get serious consideration in the fall budget.

"I'd really like to find the money for this project. It has long been our largest unfunded social infrastructure piece," Nenshi said. 

The challenge, according to Nenshi, is the cost. He said he'd ideally like to see more indoor soccer and indoor track opportunities as well — not just the one, large multi-sport facility — and he hopes to find the money to make it happen. 

"I think when we're looking at the recreation list we have to figure out a way to get to that fieldhouse."

A fieldhouse could also be considered as part of a potential Winter Olympics bid as one of the city's possible venues. 

The 2013 proposal included a 400-metre running track, full-sized soccer pitch and space for other sports such as basketball and tennis, plus seating for 10,000 spectators, but no source of funds has been identified.