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Push is on to pay off outstanding costs of Elora Green Space

by Mike Robinson

ELORA - Supporters of Elora’s Green Space are looking for some financial help.

While the Green Space at the corner of Mill and Metcalfe may seem like a familiar landmark, its history only goes back a few years.

For roughly 80 years, a gas station occupied the corner of Metcalfe and Mill Street West, but all that has changed - in no small part due to the spirit of the local community.

Now proponents like Kirk McElwain and Randall Howard are looking for that same spirit to help pay off the final $15,000 owed for the green space location.

Howard described the latest push as “the final stretch” of fundraising, adding the remainder amounts to five per cent of the project’s original cost.

McElwain said the “wonderful idea” of the green space materialized in 2012 and a significant amount of money was raised, as well as considerable in-kind donations, to make the project a reality.

“... But there is an outstanding balance that we’d like to pay off before the end of the year,” said McElwain, noting the renewed fundraising push ends on Dec. 31.

McElwain explained Howard worked closely with proponents through the Centre Wellington Community Foundation (CWCF) to allow the group to issue charitable tax receipts to those making donations to the green space.

“We want to highlight that this is available again,” McElwain said, adding CWCF gift cards are available at the Elora Information Centre.

Donations can be directed through the cards, the BIA, or mailed in or made online. In addition, selected stores throughout the community will have collection jars to raise funds for the cause - but donations of that type will not get tax receipts.

Howard stressed that any donations made through the CWCF need to be clearly marked to be directed to the Elora Green Space Fund.

He added, “through! we are counting on the committed generosity of our community to together raise that amount by year end.”

The intent is to start 2015 with a clean slate, said Howard, noting that from the start the green space initiative has been a grass roots project.

“Though the township was involved, citizen involvement made it happen,” he said.

McElwain explained the idea surfaced in early 2011, and it took a year of meetings to negotiate with property owner Suncor and Centre Wellington to get the project underway (Suncor remains owner of the site, which is still officially considered contaminated beneath the topsoil and landscaping).

Then, he said, Shawn Watters drafted the first plans for the green space - without cost.

“That in itself was a huge donation,”McElwain said.

In May 2012 the physical transformation of the site began, with an official opening later that summer, complete with mature trees and red lawn chairs.

Howard noted when the weather is more pleasant “a lot of people now go there to read a book, have lunch, while local groups have shown films or held theatre performances in the space.”

McElwain noted the green space has also hosted the Grassland Music Festival concerts.

“It has really been adopted by the community,” Howard added.

“The only thing they forgot to do is finish off the fundraising.”

McElwain added, “We’d like to keep the Green Space Fund going.” He explained that at some point upgrades will be needed.

“At this point, it is truly not handicapped accessible,” he said. “But at this point paying off the outstanding costs is the priority.”

Howard said if $30,000 was raised from this campaign, it would provide a nest egg for future improvements.

For more information visit the Elora Information Centre or which has a link for online donations.


November 21, 2014


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