Multi-use facility moving ahead
Community Living Fort Frances and District is moving ahead with its plan to build a multi-use facility at the former Sixth Street School site after unveiling a sign there Thursday afternoon.
Board chair Steve Latimer noted the plan has been in the development stage for the past year.
“The research and further development of the information from the visioning session formed the basis of the decision to build a fully-accessible, multi-purpose building,” he added, citing the building project is the advancement of a better future for its organization and the community.
“The building will accommodate participation of one-on-one, various-sized training and activities, as well as office space,” Latimer explained.
“The building will create a place that is welcome and comfortable for all to use, and meets a variety of interests.”
Latimer said that in the past, several community organizations used Community Living’s previous Activity Centre for meetings and club events, community members used it for family events, such as weddings, baby showers, anniversary, and birthday parties, and other community groups for their meetings and club activities.
CLFFD, meanwhile, used the centre for staff training, meetings, and other related activities.
“[But] due to the critical need for housing, that space was converted to apartments,” Latimer noted.
“CLFFD lost part of their community identity with this change, and [so] we are seeking to renew our connection to the community and engage and involve others as we have in the past.
“CLFFD wishes to return to the concept where community interests and those of CLFFD are shared in an environmentally-responsible and healthy place to learn, play, and work,” he stressed.
Now that the planning and conceptual work has been completed, Latimer said CLFFD will move forward with the fundraising needed to make the project a reality.
“We will be trying to raise the funds that are needed through every possible avenue that we can,” he remarked, noting there will be community fundraising, in addition to applying for grants and seeking out other options for funding.
“We welcome any group in the community to help in our fundraising if they want to
participate,” Latimer said.
“Or if they think this is a project they can support, we’d be more than happy to receive money from any donors.”
To kick off the fundraising, Laureen Vandetti, manager of Community Support Services for CLFFD, stepped forward with a pledge of $500 on behalf of her family, which drew a round of applause from those on hand at the sign unveiling.
While Latimer said CLFFD still is working on a formal fundraising campaign, he’s certain it will be a project the community will support.
“Look at the library, look at the second ice surface, look at the equipment for Riverside—anytime there has been a great cause in this community, the people have stepped forward,” he lauded.
“I’ve worked all across the province of Ontario and have never been in a community like this,” Latimer added.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this project will happen eventually once we get the money in place.”
Latimer said he’s personally excited about the project because of the history behind it.
“This goes way back to when we had a school and there was an Ontario regulation that came out under the Education Act that said all schools had to be under the local board,” he recalled.
“And we lost our school,” he noted, referring to the Kinhaven School property and equipment that was transferred to the Board of Education back in 1969.
“We always had an interest in the school,” Latimer stressed. “We always let people know that we wanted our property and our building back.
“As a result of negotiations with the [current] board of education, we were very fortunate to be offered this property on Sixth Street,” he noted.
“And it is absolutely perfect for what our vision is for Community Living in Fort Frances.”