Con Gislason said the Elmwood East Kildonan Active Living Centre is using the old Field of Dreams adage "If you build it, they will come" as its mantra.
The centre’s president said the building, located at 180 Poplar Ave., has been improved slowly but surely in his four years in the role, and he hopes that will lead to a boost in members.
Gislason estimates membership at about 270 members, but hopes to see that number balloon to 350.
While it is membership renewal time for established members, new people are always invited to join for the annual membership fee of $15. Gislason hopes to draw new members and some volunteers from the Elmwood area in particular.
"We’re inviting new members all the time, and we’d be really happy to see people come here," he said. "A lot of people describe this as a hidden jewel in the Elmwood area.
"We try to make it as affordable as we possibly can. Right now, we return much more to the members than we take in through membership fees."
The centre offers a variety of programming included in its membership fee, from floor curling to cribbage, while members are also invited to make use of its art room, woodworking shop, and games room.
Gislason said the games room in particular is in the midst of development. The area, once cluttered, has since been organized, and also recently received two new pool tables through a New Horizons grant. He said he hopes to add a storage room, a television, and a coffee area to the room by the summer.
Gislason explained the centre also hosts meals throughout the year for a nominal fee. The meals include Christmas and Easter dinners as well as barbecues throughout the summer.
Down the line, Gislason hopes to expand the scope of the centre’s programming.
"We’re looking for ideas," he said, noting quilting and crafting are potential additions. "It’s one thing to just fire a program in here and hope it succeeds, but it’s better if people come to us and say ‘We’d like to see this, or we’d like to see that.’"
Gislason said ideas that have already been presented to him include a bridge club and a speaker series, which was attempted, but the centre didn’t have enough resources to bring it together.
For more, contact Gislason at the centre at 204-669-0750.