By Trevor Busch
A permanent Confederation Park Stage will be in place for 2016 Cornfest celebrations, confirmed Taber and District Chamber of Commerce representative Tom Paterson last week.
Speculation was mounting in some circles in the community that the permanent stage project would not be constructed in time for the event, roughly six weeks away.
Paterson said shovels should be hitting the ground this week, with most of the structure finalized by July 15.
“That is the plan, in fact we met this morning (Friday). We’ve chosen a contractor, and we should see some action next week (July 11-17). This is a pre-cast concrete structure. Basically what you’re going to see is some footings in the park one day, and then quite literally when we come in there within a day, the vast majority of that building will be standing.”
Construction will be occurring in Confederation Park, so the Town of Taber is asking residents to be safe and alert when visiting the park.
No unauthorized access or playing in the construction zone will be allowed, and parents and children are requested to be aware that there will be equipment and crews working.
Construction will not affect operations of the spray park, skate park or the ball diamonds.
The permanent stage and dance area will be approximately the same size as the portable stage used for Cornfest, and will be located in approximately the same area of Confederation Park. The project is being completely funded by the chamber, and the completed structure is intended to be as “vandal proof” as possible. Once completed, the stage will be open to all groups within the community to use for a fee through the Town of Taber.
“I was speaking with the contractor, and they only have a couple pieces left to do. So it’s mostly done,” said Paterson, who is also serving as Cornfest chair for the chamber in 2016. “So they’ll come in, they’ll put it up, and then all that’s left to do is the same contractor that’s taking care of the footings will come in and pour the floor of the stage, and then the dance floor. We may not have the roof done, but at least the full structure will be there.”
The structure is being built by a licensed contractor in the approximate location of the current Cornfest stage, using the existing power pedestal, and will face east to shelter it from prevailing southwest winds.
The project will feature a 40’x40′ concrete dance floor, and a 40’x24′ permanent stage.
Once completed, the structure’s ownership, maintenance, and operation will be transferred to the Town of Taber.
“It took a little longer to get the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed from the town development point of view, but because of the pre-cast nature of it, most of it will be up in a very short period of time,” said Paterson.
Potential uses for a completed structure include July 1 celebrations, community auctions, Cornfest, Easter celebrations, charity events, plays, auction events, ethnic group celebrations, “theatre in the park” or “movie in the park”, community talent shows, and jazz festivals, among others.