A new hall, but at what cost?

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It’s been nearly a year since the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame and Museum shut it doors at the Harbourfront Theatre and the memorabilia and artifacts boxed and put away.

Since that time, the city received the nod from the province to remain the home for the hall. An independent committee, appointed by Mayor Basil Stewart and chaired by Paul Power, spent weeks researching to determine the best location for the hall of fame.

The committee came up with the venue that was the obvious choice to most people right from the beginning – Credit Union Place. It draws the most people of any venue in Summerside and it is sports oriented.

But in a recent interview, Stewart said it was recommended that the hall be at Credit Union Place and not necessarily ‘in’ Credit Union Place. He said council is discussing building an extension onto the $40- plus million facility just for the hall of fame.

This raises the issue of costs and who is going to foot the bill for this extension. Stewart isn’t talking something inexpensive. He said it would have to be built in such a way that it will serve the hall for the next 30 to 50 years.

If the city is thinking of using infrastructure money to do the work, those dollars won’t be available until 2014, and would this project qualify under the infrastructure program guidelines?

If it does and this is the intent of the city, those artifacts and memorabilia of Island athletes and builders of sport will remain hidden for yet another year – at least.

Is there a need for a separate structure for the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame? Would the memory of the athletes and builders of sport be better served by having their legacy displayed on the walls throughout Credit Union Place, free of charge, for everyone to see every time they enter the building?

For example one of those featured in the hall is Summerside’s Barb McNeill – a depiction of her swim of the English Channel. Wouldn’t it make sense to display her artifacts on the wall opposite the pool? Or have curling, hockey and skating inductees on display outside or inside Eastlink arena?

There is certainly enough wall space at Credit Union Place to accommodate present inductees and future ones. This would also allow the artifacts to be on display right away.

But there is another wrinkle in all of this. The board of directors of the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame has the final say on where the hall will be located and all indications suggest they prefer an independent venue.






Organizations: Union Place, Fame and Museum, Harbourfront Theatre

Geographic location: Summerside, Iceland, English Channel

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