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Provincial grant completes funding for ag society barn

From right, Fort Macleod Agricultural Society barn project chairman Henry Van Hierden, president Shirley Bloomberg, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Evan Berger, agricultural society director Carolyn Weir and treasurer Joanne Hannas

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Evan Berger delivered an early Christmas present Friday to the Fort Macleod Agricultural Society.
Berger turned over a $125,000 Community Facility Enhancement Program grant that will allow the agricultural society to build its new barn.
The provincial grant capped the funding the agricultural society needed to start building the $278,000 barn early next year.
The 80-foot by 135-foot barn will be built directly south of the Fort Macleod Midnight Stadium Agriplex.
“With the barn, we’ll be able to host a lot more functions,” barn project chairman Henry Van Hierden said.
Van Hierden explained the barn will be used to stable horses overnight, providing a service to people from out of town who attend ropings, penning and other events in Fort Macleod.
The barn, which will be joined to the agriplex, will contain individual stalls, a wash bay for horses, a warm-up arena and storage room.
There will be room for up to 100 individual stalls, which will be built as money comes available.
Van Hierden said six people have already pledged the $1,000 needed to build each stall.
The idea of building a barn has been around for at least a decade, but the agricultural society has been working in earnest for about two years to raise the money.
To support the project MD of Willow Creek and Town of Fort Macleod councils agreed to partner through the Municipal Sponsorship Program.
The two municipalities filed a joint application for $35,219 from the program to go to the barn project.
The agricultural society also received a $50,000 contribution toward the project from an anonymous donor.
Concession sales, arena rentals and volunteer support helped the agricultural society raise the rest of the money.
“We built up a bank account,” Van Hierden said.
With the money in place the agricultural society won’t waste any time starting construction.
“We’re hoping to start pretty much right after New Year’s,” Van Hierden said.
Westco Construction of Fort Macleod will build the barn, and contributed $10,000 toward the project.
It is anticipated the barn will be ready for use in the spring, and the already-busy Midnight Stadium Agriplex will get even busier.
The barn provides the capacity for multi-day events, now that people will have somewhere to stable their horses overnight.