The Benalto Centennial Station has recently been given a face-lift thanks to the efforts of the Benalto Booster Club and many volunteers. Originally built in 1928, the train station was bought and moved out of Benalto in 1971, to be used as a summer home overlooking the Red Deer River. A decade later it was sold again and moved to the Burnt Lake area, where it remained as a residence for 30 years and had a series of owners. In 2012, the building was donated back to the community of Benalto.
Since 2013 the Benalto Booster Club has been working to refurbish the train station and turn it into a central hub for the hamlet. Thankfully, their hard work is now complete. Through many fundraising campaigns, private and corporate donations, and grants from Red Deer County, the iconic building has been transformed into a modernized community centre, with a historical atmosphere. Recognition plaques, framed in train car silhouettes, line the walls recognizing the donors of this project.
The main floor serves as a gathering place for community events, and can be rented out for meetings, weddings and birthday parties. The recently added walk out basement faces an outdoor skating rink and is available during the winter months for skaters to put on equipment and to warm up. In the summer, the adjacent green space can be used for outdoor activities. The wrap around deck provides scenic views of the Medicine Valley and the Rocky Mountains.
“This project could not have been successful without the vision, dedication and commitment of the Benalto Booster Club,” said Mayor Jim Wood, “On behalf of Red Deer County I want to commend them for the hard work involved in bringing the train station back to life in Benalto and creating a historical legacy for the community.”
The official opening of the Benalto Centennial Station took place on Thursday, September 26.