The landscape is changing in the town of Rimbey as the multi- million dollar Agrim Centre begins to rise. Construction on the multi-use agricultural facility began in July, and with the steel frame now in place, residents can see the scope of what the 60,000 square feet of space will offer the community.
“We’ve got funding secured up to the lock-up stage,” explained Rimbey Agricultural Society President Tim Edge. “We’re entering the next push of fundraising, so we can get the building finished on the inside, and ready for use within a year.”
“So far, the building is on time and on budget.”
Boosted by a $125,000 grant from the provincial government’s Community Facility Enhancement Program, momentum for the project is on the upswing.
“As people see the Agrim Centre taking shape, there’s more excitement,” commented Edge. “We’ve had great ongoing backing from the County of Ponoka. They’ve kept the snow plowed so work could continue along, despite our heavy snowfall this winter. The town of Rimbey has been very supportive too, and we’re looking forward to some more good news in the 2014 budget.”
“But we’re also seeing businesses and the community step up, like Eckrim Agencies with a major $25,000 sponsorship, as well as both the Rimbey and Bluffton 4-H Clubs.”
Several families have also already taken advantage of the unique Family Sponsorship program, at $25/square foot, to show their support of the project. Donor plaques will acknowledge such contributions, and a form is available from the website (www.agrim.ca). It has been printed in the Rimbey Review newspaper as well.
“We really believe the benefits to the town and to the whole region will be significant,” added Edge. “That’s why our focus now is on corporate sponsorship, because the Agrim will have a big trickle-down effect on the local economy.”
Rimbey’s own World Livestock Auctioneer Champion Danny Skeels is one of those who see the potential impact of the Agrim Centre.
“It could be a big draw, because there just isn’t anything like it further west,” noted Skeels, who sells dozens of purebred sales each year. “Bull shows, trade fairs, cattle sales – I think there’s big opportunity to expand and keep the place busy.”
Skeels is also very active in the 4-H program.
“We’ve already been talking at an interclub level that we could have some regional livestock shows that would be one more step for our kids to get experience to go on to the next level. That’s all about the development of future farmers.”
The next major event supporting the Agrim Centre will be the Rimbey Agricultural Society Fundraiser on March 1st, featuring Canadian Country Music artist Duane Steele, a past CCMA Independent Male Artist of the Year. The evening will feature a banquet, silent auction, entertainment from Duane Steele and dancing. Tickets are available at Stationery Stories & Sound, T&S Feeds, Crop Production Services, and Midwest Propane for $60 in advance, or $40 at the door for just the concert and the dance.
“People are realizing the Agrim is the biggest thing to hit Rimbey in years,” said Edge. “Lockup of the building could be within the next six months. We want to have the funds in place so everything can keep rolling on towards the finish line.”
For further information or to donate auction items, contact Tim Edge 403-354-6730, check the website www.agrim.ca or search Rimbey Agriculture Society on Facebook.