Ehrlo Sport Venture has been undergoing a transformation!

Over the summer of 2018, an extensive interior remodel was done when the Paper Crane art studio moved in to share the space at 2730 5th Avenue.  The enhancements continued with widespread exterior improvements.

Program manager Amanda McConnell worked in collaboration with Ranch Ehrlo’s facilities team to make the project a reality.  

“The changes we made are really quite simple, but they’ve had a huge positive impact,” said Amanda.

To begin the project, basic maintenance was completed: new fencing was installed around the yard and the temporary storage sea can was removed. A new storage unit was added for seasonal sports equipment and is now in its permanent location, freeing up the basketball court and entryways. In response to the mailbox being regularly vandalized, an indestructible mail slot was built into the front door.

Large photo panels were added to the front windows to showcase the programs offered at Sport Venture.

“The panels are great because they really help the public identify the building and the work we do,” Amanda said.

Artists from the Sakewewak Artists Collective were commissioned to create a joyful new piece celebrating the spirit of sport to replace the damaged east side mural. It can be seen from Albert Street and is a highlight of 5th Avenue. It is fitting that it fills the side of the building where the Paper Crane groups enter; they now literally walk into art classes through a beautiful piece of art!

To combat garbage, the front grass was removed and replaced with crusher dust. Not only is this landscaping zero-maintenance for the team, debris no longer collects on windy days. A commercial garbage can was also added to the front of the building. 

“One of the challenges of exterior beautification has been that any flowers outside are stolen or destroyed,” Amanda explained.

The team worked around this by replacing the raised planter boxes with ground-level flower beds; this change meant that the flowers are not at grabbing height and have successfully remained and blossomed over the summer months.

“The flowerbeds look amazing, due in large part to Sport Venture employee Leslie Charlton’s green thumb and pride in making the exterior of our building look friendly and inviting,” said Amanda.

Neighbours stop in regularly to thank the Sport Venture team for adding greenery and colour to the streetscape.  This Christmas, lights will be strung on the building to celebrate the season and liven up the long, dark winter nights.

Plans are in the works for further beautification in summer 2020, including painting key lines and improvements to the basketball court to create a true half court, the addition of a permanent seating area so parents can relax while their children play, and the planting of a perennial flower garden on the building’s west side.  

Two more murals are in the works – the front of the building will have a new mural welcoming people in many different languages and the storage unit will be painted by our very own artists from Paper Crane.  

“Our outdoor improvements have resulted in another very unexpected bonus: the number of used needles around the building has dropped astronomically. Not only is the building more aesthetically pleasing, it is also safer. Following the lead of other North Central organizations, we are doing our part to make our community welcoming and beautiful,” Amanda concluded.