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A fitness room has been added as part of the Veterans Arena overhaul. Submitted photo

Park District providing tours of newly renovated Vets Arena

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By Karen Huber

The West Fargo Park District is holding an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 22 to show off recently completed major upgrades at the Veterans Memorial Arena, 1201 7th Ave. E.

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The facility has been involved in ongoing renovations resulting in a new 1/8 mile walking track, new bleachers and lighting and a fitness room.

Tours will be conducted Nov. 22, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. during which time coffee and donuts will be served. An evening tour is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. which will feature complimentary homemade pizza made in the Arena concession area, along with beverages. A slide show presentation of the facility improvements as well as other park projects presently in the works will also be presented.

A ribbon cutting will kick-off the event at 5 p.m. involving park district staff and park board commissioners. Door prizes will also be awarded throughout the day.

Park officials will also be on hand to answer questions and tout the variety of programs available at the Arena. "There are so many different programs and opportunities for parties or events that the average person may not be aware of," Recreation Specialist Kim Wangler stated. "We would like to use a part of the open house time to inform the general public about all we have to offer," here mentioning the Community Room complete with basketball court, available for birthday party rentals and other celebrations.

Cost for the improvements was right around $300,000 funded through a mix of special financing and the Park District's general fund.

As for the recently completed improvements to the Arena, Facility Manager Jamie Olson couldn't be more pleased. "It really looks so much different and brighter inside the facility."

With the Veterans Arena first opening to the public in January of 1989 Olson said the enhancements were long overdue but well worth the wait. "We have been working on these over the last three years, step by step, little by little, and this is the culmination. The latest round was this last summer and now that it's all done, it's just wonderful. The electrical speaks for itself. The lighting is phenomenal. We went from 400 watt bulbs to fluorescents that will pay for themselves in a few years. And the new walking track is also great, but the bleachers are probably my favorite, in that it took a lot of time to take the old ones out for hockey games, now we can do it in about three minutes."

"I am really excited and anxious to show the place off next week and let people know that we are continuing to do things here, always trying to make it better than yesterday. That's kind of the motto we live buy."

He also wants to utilize the open house as a rallying point for public awareness. "It's amazing how many people haven't been in this building. We'd like to see some of those people stop by so we can familiarize them with our facility and its services. We have a meeting room, a multipurpose room with basketball hoops, a birthday package we put together, and a huge Toppers Car Show we hold here each year."

On that note everyone is welcome and encouraged to take a little time Tuesday to visit the Arena and check out the new and improved facility and all it has to offer.

For additional information about services and programs contact the West Fargo Park District at 433-5360 or visit their website at wfparks.org.

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