Moosomin’s Heritage Committee has come up with a set of guidelines to guide heritage restoration projects in Moosomin.
The town offers grants to help cover the cost of approved facade restoration projects, and the guidelines are intended to provide direction to business owners and managers on the types of materials, colors, and styles suitable for heritage restoration projects.
Ann Norgan and Lynn Kerkhoff attended the Dec. 18 council meeting to provide an update on the Heritage Committee’s work.
“Lynn has been working hard on this project, and we wanted to bring everyone up to speed on the heritage group,” councillor Garry Beckett—also a member of the Heritage Committee—told councillors in introducing the delegation.
“Moosomin is one of only five communities in the province that has a heritage committee that works like this. We started off with a $5,000 matching grant for facades or storefronts. This year we allowed two $5,000 projects and two $2,500 smaller projects.”
The first $5,000 grant went to renovations to the storefront at Moosomin Pharmasave.
Pharmasave owner Darcy Rambold donated his $5,000 grant to the Moosomin Food Bank, which was approved for the second $5,000 grant.
That grant will be carried forward to 2014, as the Food Bank is waiting on contractors.
The unallocated grant from this year will be carried forward to 2014, as there are several businesses interested in the grant.
“We had two applications late last spring that were not approved because the materials to be used were unsuitable,” Norgan told councillors.
“We have been preparing guidelines, so that businesses know what will qualify and what will not.
“We have a lot of interest in the grants. Another business on the 600 block of Main Street has a contractor in place and thought he would have his application in in December, but it has been delayed.
“There’s another business on Main Street with a large frontage which has approached our committee,” Norgan added in explaining to council why rolling over the unallocated grant is necessary.
“We would rather get more businesses fixed up than to leave money unused.”
Norgan said a lot of work has gone into the guidelines.
“Lynn (Kerkhoff) has worked innumerable hours pulling together all kinds of information,” she told council. “Many hours have been spent—this is a very detailed job. We anticipate when this is finished, that other cities and communities will be interested in this.”
The committee presented sample pages of a rough draft to council.
“One thing that the package will do is explain why we’re pursuing heritage conservation,” Norgan said. “This is all about economic development. We want to create an attractive community where people will want to stop and do business. We want to create a good first impression.”
She said the package should answer a lot of questions for businesses that are looking at heritage restoration.
“First of all, we want to make this available to businesses that are looking at doing some heritage restoration,” she said.
“There is starting to be more interest because people didn’t know where to go with it before. Once we get this information out that Lynn put together, it will make it easier.
“People are busy running their businesses. Even the contractors don’t always know where to start.
“Lynn’s doing a lot of the research for the contractors and the business owners that they won’t have to do themselves.”
Beckett, who also serves on the food bank and thrift store board, said the heritage committee has been a big help in formulating a vision for the restoration of the organization’s storefront.
“We would be dead in the water without Lynn’s ample talents,” he said. “Some people wondered why we needed to put so much work into our building, and Lynn pointed out that our clients deserve the dignity that everyone else in town expects.”
Norgan said the committee’s work is always done with an end goal in mind.
“What we’re doing is not just about old buildings and sentimentality. We want to do things that will put Moosomin on the map as a place to stop.”
Mayor Larry Tomlinson told the delegation the council appreciates the work the heritage committee is doing.
“It sounds like you’re doing a lot of work behind the scenes,” he said. “We appreciate what you do.”
The Heritage Committee will present an update on their work at the January 14 Chamber of Commerce meeting.