The Grand River Agricultural Society continued to fulfill its pledges to the township here on Monday.
Society representative Paul Walker led a delegation of society members and presented councillor Shawn Watters with a cheque for $25,000. It is the second installment over five years of cash for the redevelopment in Bissell Park in Elora.
That work includes a place for the Elora Festival to hold concerts with seating for up to 900 people. That building will also double as a rink and basketball court when it is ready to go.
Watters said he has been working on the park project for many years.
He said he and Parks and Recreation Director Andy Goldie “knew it was a much bigger project than the township could support” so they went looking for sponsors. The Agricultural Society, which owns and operates the Grand River Raceway and receives a share of the slots profits, pledged $25,000 a year for five years.
“They came to our rescue,” Watters said.
Goldie said over the summer, township staff have been considering acoustics for the building and he hopes in the next week or two to have plans prepared.
He said there will be ice in the building from November to March for skating and hockey, and concerts and basketball courts in warmer weather.
He added the township is working on other grant possibilities.
Councillor Fred Morris received $5,000 for the BT Corner project because he has worked on that committee.
He said the idea was to honour the Beatty family for what it had done over several generations for Fergus, and the cheque is the first of three installments.
“We’re just delighted,” he said of the society’s generosity to the community.
Walker, for his part, said, “It’s very nice that we can go out there in the community and donate some of our profits.”
He added that it was nice of council to accept funds on an installment basis because, until the society pays its costs for building the raceway, “We’re still working with a small amount of funds.”
Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj thanked the society for its generosity.