Koko Platz Recreation Club officially launched its fundraising campaign for a new rec centre and rink this week.

The club has a goal of $500,000 to rebuild the rink as a 4-season space and improve the building, as well as the space surrounding the existing rink.

The Koko Platz team already received a massive boost of  $157,800 from the Government of Manitoba's Building Sustainable Communities Program earlier this year.

Board Chair of the Koko Platz Rec Club, Julene Toews-Dewis says that the first step in raising money for the project is simply making the community aware of what's happening.

"We're going to go door-to-door knocking for a couple of businesses," continues Toews-Dewis. "There's been a number of businesses in the community that have supported us for many, many years, so we're going to be reaching back out to them, as well as a few others in the community that we know support initiatives."

A press release from Koko Platz obtained by PortageOnline says that all donations over $250 will be displayed proudly in the clubhouse when built, with more prominent donors receiving more significant outdoor signage.

Toews-Dewis adds that she can't wait to see Koko Platz become a beautiful space.

"We reached out to the community prior to designing the building, and a lot of folks really loved what we had before," says the Board Chair. "There was a lot of nostalgia, a lot of memories for what Koko Platz has been. So, we want to keep a lot of the essence of what we had before and just make some enhancements, mostly in terms of accessibility and security."

Board Member Kaitlyn Coates says looking at where the rink is right now reminds her of a blank canvas.

"This time last year, we didn't have as much hope yet, and now being able to see what the potential is to be here, what's designed to be here, it's really exciting. There's just so much room to grow."

Coates shares that this fundraiser is all about the community stating that Koko Platz doesn't just serve the neighbourhood it surrounds, but Portage and all of the Central Plains.

"I think it's important for people to invest in their community, and this is a great way to do it." continues Coates. "I grew up in this area, and I grew up skating here, and I actually coached skating at this rink. My wedding shower was in the community club, and Halloween dances, all of it. So, what I'm really looking forward to is being a part of creating the new, the improved, the bigger, the better and filling that need for the community right now."

File Photo.Julene Toews-Dewis & Kaitlyn Coates

Coates and Toews-Dewis add that they hope that Portage will show up and go above and beyond with their generosity in their investment in the community.

The Rec Club notes that the 4-season picture depicted above is a concept to describe what they are considering and that the exact size and location are still being finalized.