LANTZ: The East Hants Sports Hall of Fame is expanding.

With the announcement of $45,000 in funding from the federal government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, the Sports Hall of Fame will be able to better showcase the sporting achievements of athletes in East Hants.

Kings Hants Liberal MP Scott Brison, the president of the Treasury Board, was on hand March 13 at the East Hants Sportsplex to speak with Sports Heritage Society President Kody Blois and Board Member Glenn Nelson about the impact the funding means for the non-profit organization.

“There’s a remarkably proud and strong sports heritage in Hants East that brings together today’s families and a lot of people from here that are living in other parts of Canada and the world,” said Brison following a brief discussion of the expansion plans. “Building on that shared heritage is a great way to strengthen our communities in Hants East.”

He said the Sports Hall of Fame also allows others to see what is possible by being involved in sports.

“It also encourages young people to pursue healthy activities and athletics, including amateur athletics, which are important healthy lifestyle choices the young people have,” he said.

The $45,000 will be used to expand and enhance the Sports Hall of Fame, which is located behind the Todd Hunter Room on the upper level of the East Hants Sportsplex.

Part of the monies will see the installation of a brick entrance archway; an athlete mural wall, and a touch-screen video kiosk, as well as the production of new videos for the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

Blois expanded further on that.

“We’re certainly appreciative of the investment that ACOA has made to us,” he said. “We’ve always intended to expand the Sports Hall of Fame beyond what we originally started.

“For us this ACOA funding has jettisoned our approach. This probably wouldn’t have been possible for four or five years, and now we can do it just three or four years out from when we started the Hall of Fame itself.”

He said there will be a sport mural to the left as you enter the Sports Hall of Fame which will celebrate iconic individuals, images, anything relevant to the East Hants sporting community.

“We’re going to have a Friends of the East Hants Sports Hall of Fame plaque, which will essentially recognize a number of residents who have stepped up, believed in what we’re doing, and used their pocketbook to show it,” he said.

Blois said the funding will leave a lasting impact on the community and allow them to interact with it more.

“I think the legacy and the infrastructure from this will allow the community to interact with our Hall of Fame even greater,” he said. “It’s going to allow us to showcase our local heroes, the Tracey Cameron’s, the Keith Miller’s, the Graham Isenor’s.

“Anyone coming to the Sportsplex from inside and outside our community will be able to learn a little bit about who we are as a community and what we’ve done through sport.”

In July, the 2017 East Hants Sports Hall of Fame annual induction ceremony will be conducted in conjunction with Tidefest, East Hants’ first-ever homecoming weekend.