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include a spacious activity center. Rosenfeld followed this example and in 1975, Altona established a similar club.
Sports and recreation continued to be an important aspect of all Rhineland communities constituting another way of building communi ty spirit. Canada's and Manitoba's centennial in 1967 and 1970 respec tively provided various communities with the funds and opportunity to undertake recreation projects. The R.M. of Rhineland and Altona jointly built a large park on the west end of Altona in 1964, Gretna built a smaller park in 1970. The municipality participated in many of these projects and when Gretna decided to build an arena in 1975 the R.M. of Rhineland matched Gretna grants.
Competitive sports had long been a part of Rhineland's commu nities, but the complete acceptance of competitive sports among Men nonites was signalled in 1971, when the Mel entered regular inter varsity competition. Throughout the 1960's and 1970's Rhineland teams regularly captured baseball and hockey championships. In 1963 the Plum Coulee Dodgers won the Manitoba Juvenile Baseball Champion ship and in 1966 an all star team from Rhineland and Stanley won the Manitoba Little League Baseball Championship. The best fastball teams in the area, on the other hand, usually came from the Mennonite villages such as Reinland, Silberfeld, and Neubergthal.
In hockey Altona teams generally dominated and in 1975 the Altona Midget Maroons, the Bantam A's, the Braves, the Miller Colle giate Aces and the Maroons, all captured the championships in their respective leagues." In high school, volleyball and basketball became popular sports, while the most popular social sports remained curling and golf.
R.M. of Rhineland in the 1980's
Like its small towns, the R. M. of Rhineland had suffered a decline in population in the 1960's and 1970's. Urbanization, the decline of small farms and the changing nature of rural life in Rhineland posed new challenges for the municipality. These developments in Rhineland were common throughout Manitoba and by 1967 W. L. Morton felt that the rural municipal system of Manitoba was inadequate and failing. At a time when all costs were increasing and more public services were demanded, municipal income was failing to increase rapidly enough. 39 In Rhineland this translated into an increasing dependence on the provincial government for roads, drainage and schools and ultimately to a dissatisfaction with government attention to rural needs.
Rhineland's prospects, however, have been improving as the mu nicipality nears its 100th birthday. Its population has stabilized and initiatives have been made for comprehensive rural planning to solve 249