Kaitlin Pace wants to help inject some life into the aging Pete Palangio Arena in North Bay, so she took it upon herself to try to do something to help spruce it up.
Pace, a competitive ringette player and St. Joseph-Scollard Hall student, says that entering the Wallace Road arena in the Kraft Heinz Project Play Community Project contest made sense to her after travelling with her team to other centres and seeing “what other facilities are like in other places. We just need to take care of what we have and what has been a staple in North Bay since the 1970s.”
The contest offers a $250,000 grand prize towards a recreational facility upgrade. The remaining three finalists will each receive $20,000. Nominations for the contest closed last Friday. A panel of judges will examine the entries and determine the four finalists by Sept. 1. Online voting will be open for those four finalists only between Sept. 8 at noon until Sept. 9 at 11:59 p.m.
With West Ferris Arena slated to close and a new arena build being discussed in City circles, the contest winnings would help to sustain the arena in the eastern end of the city. In her entry, Pace writes, “If we do not get Pete Palangio fixed, it will be shut down just as West Ferris is and we will have nowhere to turn. Ringette will be put on the back burner from hockey.”
Pace, who is a volunteer with the North Bay North Stars hockey team for children and adults with developmental challenges, also points out some of the accessibility issues with Pete Palangio Arena in her nomination: “The stairs to the ice pads are unsafe, falling apart and the railings can barely hold together and parents are afraid children will get hurt[…]One slip and you can seriously hurt yourself.”
The 16-year-old Pace says her mother helped her with the nomination, but Kaitlin took the initiative after seeing the Project Play commercial on television. “Since West Ferris is shutting down and I grew up playing in the arena, I wanted Pete Palangio to continue to grow and thrive.”