The Hussar Ag Society has been fundraising to support a new ice plant purchased for the Hussar Arena in 2020.
Since its purchase, the arena has faced hardships due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting ice rentals and in-person fundraising events, and there is about $180,000 remaining on the lease for the ice plant.
“It’s been a huge fiscal challenge the last two years,” says Ag Society member Corey Sandum.
She notes the decision to purchase the new ice plant was made in 2019 and, had they known about the challenges right around the corner with the COVID-19 pandemic, they would have waited.
The annual Hussar Stag Auction helped raise some $30,000 which was dedicated towards supporting the purchase of the ice plant, and an online 50/50 draw in March also helped raise some $8,500.
With COVID restrictions lifted, the arena hosted its first in-person fundraising event earlier this year in April. This event, which included a silent auction and entertainment with mentalist Louis Pezzani, helped to raise another $9,000.
Ms. Sandum says they are hopeful to host other events, with the possibility of bringing back the online 50/50 draw.
Lifting restrictions has also meant ice rentals have resumed, and Ms. Sandum says they have been able to hold a full season for 2021-2022.
However, rising utility costs and other expenses have put more financial strain on the arena. The Ag Society was awarded $100,000 to help offset these costs through the Wheatland County Community Enhancement Regional Board (CERB).
“Everyone is hurting, everyone is facing rising costs,” Ms. Sandum says.