Trail: Riverfront Centre campaign underway

"Starting a New Chapter" fundraiser for the new Riverfront Centre in downtown Trail is currently underway.

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The Riverfront Centre will not only be good for the mind it will also be good for the soul.

That’s the consensus of three corporate sponsors who’ve made a notable commitment to “Starting a New Chapter” a $400,000 fundraising campaign toward outfitting the new state-of-the-art facility.

As the project officially went to tender this week, the campaign’s sponsorship total stands at $22,500. Over the summer, McEwan Law Corporation donated $10,000; Mary Martin, Richard Daoust and realtors at Century 21 Kootenay Homes gave $10,000 and committed a small portion of every sale over the next few years; and ATCO Wood Products in Fruitvale donated $2,500.

Mary Lawson from McEwan Law says the Bay Avenue firm has long supported local child and education initiatives, so this campaign fit right in with the group’s philanthropic objectives.

“I think the integration of the library/museum will make the location more of a gathering place,” said Lawson. “And healthy communities need that it will be nice to have a space that’s a bit more accessible downtown for people to get to, use, and perhaps visit some other businesses while they are there.”

Lawson was born and raised in Trail. After graduating from McGill University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts, she received her Bachelor of Laws with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan College of Law in 2009, and was called to the bar in 2010.

Now practicing mostly corporate/commercial law, Mary knows a thing or two about books and her start really began at the Trail library.

She fondly recalled her own history with the institution, and how she is passing the reading tradition to her own children.

“I remember when I was a kid, they had a summer reading program,” Lawson began. “We used to go to the lake, like many kids around here do, and it was always preceded by a trip to the library.

“We all took out a bunch of books and I remember there’d be prizes for reading a certain amount of books,” she added. “So that’s a very happy memory I have that made learning and reading fun. Now my children participate in the library programs and they both really enjoy it, and that’s important.”

All funds raised will be distributed between the Trail & District Public Library and Trail Historical Society both organizations will be intertwined as one in the Riverfront Centre, making the new digs a very unique facility.

“We totally support the city and like to do things that benefit the whole area,” says Mary Martin. “We think this is a really important addition to town, not only for the downtown and kids, which is great, but also for visitors.”

Martin is wowed by the building’s design which she says is a first for the city and a welcome breath of fresh air.

“It’s absolutely beautiful on the Esplanade overlooking the river. It’s the first time we’ve had anything that is being built that totally takes in the beauty and location along the river,” she added. “It’s going to be stunning, and integrating the museum is something that isn’t normally done everybody is going to have all that at their fingertips I think it’s going to be absolutely great.”

The campaign kicked off in January by inviting the community to help furnish the Riverfront Centre. The dollars raised will cover the cost of new shelving and seating in the adult area, a new children’s area, new public access computers, IT hardware, a staff workroom, a circulation desk and a children and adult programming room.

Libraries play an important role in communities no matter the age, says ATCO’s Scott Weatherford.

“ATCO has had a very long history of supporting communities where we live and work,” Weatherford said, noting community improvement and childhood education are the company’s key philanthropic goals.

“The Riverfront Centre project will certainly be a very visual improvement to the community,” he shared. “As well as provide enormous educational opportunities for both adults and children.”

Libraries provide a central location where community members can take advantage of resources, expertise and programs to learn, explore opportunities, and connect with both local and global communities, Weatherford added.

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