Improvements made to McLeod Athletic Park (MAP) will benefit young football players from throughout the community, thanks to contributions from the three levels of government, the Langley School District, and a dedicated sports association.
Members of the Langley Minor Football Association were joined by MP Mark Warawa and Township of Langley Mayor Rick Green at MAP on September 13th to officially unveil the new additions and upgrades, which Langley Minor Football President Wayne McMurchy hopes will lead to an increased interest in the sport.
“The Government of Canada is excited to have been a part of this project, which will give young football players a place to call their own,” said Langley MP Mark Warawa, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. “Athletes in Langley will now enjoy more practice time and space, and I’m certain that enthusiastic fans will be pleased to come out to this facility to cheer them on.”
Lighting was added to an underutilized grass field on the north side of Langley Secondary School, west of McLeod Athletic Park’s grandstand, to allow football to be played later into the night, and an extension was added to the grandstand building to create two rooms that will store bulky football equipment.
“We want to get kids playing football and we want to fill that grandstand,” McMurchy said.
A new, fully-functioning concession, complete with a grill and commercial dishwasher, has been added to the grandstand building, facing the field. Langley Minor Football will manage the concession, and make it available to other user groups and for special events. Stairs will also be constructed in the future to give better access to upstairs storage space.
The improvements at McLeod Athletic Park were made thanks to a $102,000 contribution from the Government of Canada’s Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program and $100,000 in provincial gaming funds, through a Major Capital Project Grant. The Township of Langley contributed Neighbourhood Initiative Program funds, and the remainder was supplied by Langley Minor Football.
With $370,000 worth of funding, several projects were undertaken in partnership with the Township of Langley and School District #35, said Township Parks Design and Development Manager Al Neufeld.
Not only will the improvements make it easier for Langley Minor Football teams to practice and play, they will also benefit high school football teams, Rams junior football, and North Langley Minor Football. From June to December, McLeod Athletic Park will be a designated football facility, giving the sport full access to the fields, buildings, and grandstand.
There are currently 350 young people involved in Langley Minor Football, and McMurchy hopes the enhanced facilities will bring more players – and fans – out to enjoy the sport.
“Any opportunity to get young people involved in sports is worthwhile, and the improvements to McLeod Athletic Park will help raise football’s profile in our community,” said Township of Langley Mayor Rick Green. “We are grateful to both the federal and the provincial government for coming on board as funding partners, and that Langley Minor Football was so dedicated to making these projects happen. We know the lit field, concession, and storage space will be used for years to come.”