The long-awaited Blair Sharpe Active Living Centre in Miami was officially opened with a celebration and ribbon cutting this last weekend. The facility has been operating for a few weeks, however, with many supporters on hand Saturday, including Blair Sharpe himself, that opening became official.
It was a donation of $300,000 from Sharpe that initiated this community project. The donation came with a stipulation that it be used for a community project, and within three years.
Sharpe grew up in Miami as a schoolboy and left the community after graduation for university. Since leaving Miami after high school, he has spent most of his life residing in Saskatchewan but says Miami is home, and he wanted to do something for his hometown.
"This is just a great town," said Sharpe. "I'm not sure you'd find a lot better town to raise a young family in. I mean, it's a good clean town that's got a lot of fine, fine people in it, and a lot of history and facilities. We have rinks, we have good schools, we got grandstands and a very dedicated council that runs it. And, Miami is small enough that it's not an entity unto itself. It's part of the municipality (Thompson) and that draws the rural in with the urban, if you would, making it just a wonderful all-out community. Not just a town but a community."
RM of Thompson Reeve Brian Callum says it was wonderful to have such a great turnout for Saturday's opening and also to have Blair Sharpe there with most of his family.
"You know, we're really excited about the future of the building, and (we're) appreciative for what he (Blair Sharpe) did starting this project. And yeah, we're looking forward to everybody getting a chance to use this."
Midland MLA Blaine Pedersen was among a number of dignitaries on hand for the opening.
"My wife grew up here in Miami and I can remember back in the days when Miami was shrinking and, you know, people weren't sure they were gonna stay here," noted Pedersen. Pedersen says that the trend has changed completely.
"It is so nice to see a community like Miami coming together. They put a lot of work and effort into getting this building up and running, and now that it's up, there will be people in here using it all the time, and that's so nice."
Jolene Callum is the president of the operating committee for the Active Centre.
"To be able to open to the public, I mean, we got a long journey ahead of us and we got so many people coming up with ideas of what they want to do. So, I mean, it's great to have this opening, but there is just so much more to come, and so much more to look forward to as we bring in new programming for all ages."
Callum says they're very excited about the opportunities this brings to the community, and she is looking forward to working with new organizations to come to Miami.