Trail Historical Society gets grant towards new centre

The $20,000 grant awarded by CKCA will go towards the $6.3 million Riverfront Centre

A $20,000 grant might seem like only a splash in the bucket for the $6.3 million proposed Riverfront Centre, but the Trail Historical Society is grateful for the continued support because every little bit counts, noted its museum and archives director.

The Trail Historical Society applied for the grant through the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance (CKCA) towards capital costs of the proposed library/museum slated for the former Eagles property at the south end of downtown.

“We are hoping this shows the public there is support for this project and funders are out there,” said Jamie Forbes. “We are well known, well respected and known for doing a good job with the money we get.”

The grant is the maximum amount allotted under the CKCA program for the museum and gallery space and is the first official commitment by a funder towards the project.

The society and the Trail and District Public Library board joined forces earlier this year to identify grant opportunities and potential fundraising initiatives to lower the 18,000-square foot structure’s price tag and lessen the impact to the Trail taxpayers.

The new library/museum integrated facility will cost the average homeowner an additional $81 in annual taxes, according to a March report presented to Trail city council.

“Our goal is to bring the $6.29 million construction budget down considerably through grants and fundraising,” said Forbes. “This initial $20,000 will act as leverage when making requests to other funders.”

Whether or not the project breaks ground is up to the voting public, who will be asked if they support it through referendum at the upcoming municipal election in November.

Before the Trail Historical Society can apply for more substantial grants under the federally funded heritage programs, 75 per cent of the capital costs have to be in place.

Meaning, the referendum has to pass before the society is eligible to apply for the big dollars from the provincial and federal government.

“There is a lot of support for us out there,” explained Forbes. “It’s just a matter of when the funding streams are available to us.”

If Trail electors pass the referendum, funding that could exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars can be applied for through the department of Canadian Heritage and the Cultural Spaces Fund.

“If the referendum passes then we can start looking for other sources of funding,” said Forbes. “But until you have a building, they are not going to look at you.”

The city is looking to borrow the money to fund the space however larger grants or contributions to support the project are being pursued, said David Perehudoff, Trail’s chief administrative officer (CAO). “In this respect we have had several good meetings with Columbia Basin Trust and would anticipate getting a funding commitment shortly.”

The city is also in communication with Teck and most recently a comprehensive letter to explain the project and rational for the company’s support was submitted to Don Lindsay, Teck’s chief executive officer, the CAO added.

“We hope we will be able to discuss this further with Teck with the city’s goal to secure a commitment in advance of the referendum.”

The price tag doesn’t include approximately $760,000 for debt payment over the course of 25 years, additional operating costs for both facilities and anticipated loss in revenue if and when the library and museum move out of their current locations.

“We’ve been really successful obtaining money for other projects,” said Forbes. “And we are just starting to receive letters of support from other organizations saying this is a good idea. It’s not just the Trail Historical Society saying it, and we will be getting the message out there.”