Design plans for proposed community hub coming along

Bright’s Grove Library Preliminary Concept Design. (Photo attached to City of Sarnia council report.)

The first phase of detailed drawings for the Bright’s Grove Community Hub Project are beginning to take shape.

The proposed project aims to create a hub at the historic Faethorne House in Wildwood Park that is accessible and offers a community room, an expanded library, and allows Gallery in the Grove to move onto the main floor of the existing building.

City of Sarnia Parks and Facilities Operations Manager Trevor Sanderson said this phase of site planning typically takes a few months to complete.

“We’re planning to have a full project design ready this fall for council to review,” he said. “It’ll be one of the capital projects that will be brought forward for council to review and to determine if the plan is to move forward with it or not.”

Council had previously approved $100,000 from the federal Gas Tax rebate to move forward with the design portion of the project. Sanderson said the total cost to have a full design done was $325,000, so the remainder of the $225,000 to move forward will need to be approved by council.

Project Chairperson Kirsten Kilner Holmes said opportunities to secure funding at a provincial and federal level will be explored as will fundraising within the community.

“I’m definitely working on that and identifying even local individual donors. To be honest, there’s some amazing naming opportunities on this project,” she said. “We’re looking for some pledging at this moment and then in terms of a full-on capital campaign, that probably won’t happen until city council 100 per cent approves the project to move forward at the construction ready moment.”

However, Kilner Holmes said she is confident council will continue to support the project.

“I recognize that there are many infrastructure priorities and I know that staff are working hard to help this project move forward,” she said.

Sanderson said from a city perspective, there is a need for this type of project.

“This community hub would mean an increase in serviceability for the Bright’s Grove area,” he said. “The current library is very well undersized for its current needs of that community.”

Kilner Holmes said reaction from the public about the project has been positive over social media.

“I think that this building, this project is going to be a jewel in the park,” she said.

A Facebook page has been created to provide updates. Details about the project can also be found on the Gallery in the Grove’s website.