The Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba hopes the city will step up with cash and in-kind donations as restoration of the Dome Building continues on the Keystone Centre grounds.
Rob O’Connor, the general manager of the Provincial Ex, appeared before city council Monday, requesting a $255,000 cash contribution over three years, as well as extend a gift-in-kind agreement.
“We believe this contribution from the first level of government will help us pay for a portion of the construction cost, and even more importantly, it will help to attract more funding from the provincial and federal governments,” he told council.
The city’s previous gifts-in-kind for the Restoring the Glory campaign included minor landscaping, equipment, as well as waiving tipping and building permit fees.
“It was a one-year agreement, and we’re hoping they will consider to continue that for the length of the project,” O’Connor said.
The city has contributed almost $24,000 in gift-in-kind services to date.
The Ex hopes the city will provide a grant through the accommodation tax reserve. Under current requirements, the grants must be tied to a specific event. However, the program is under review. A report on the program is expected to soon come to council.
Fundraising for the project began in 2009, while construction began in 2011.
The total project target is $7.1 million. The campaign has raised $3.4 million and spent $2.9 million so far. The goal is to see the restored building become a cultural and tourism asset for western Manitoba — housing an agricultural museum as well as office space for non-profit agricultural organizations.
The exterior work is complete, which includes sewer and water services, fire suppression systems, roof repaired/replaced, windows repaired/restored and the perimeter foundation all replaced.
O’Connor pointed out that the first portion of the project actually came in under budget. What was expected to cost more than $3.5 million ended up coming in at $2.9 million.
“The project manager and the volunteers have done a good job at pushing the pencil and crunching the numbers,” he said. “We’re pretty proud of the fact that they got the amount of work in for the dollars that we have collected.”
So far, $1.16 million has been received through fundraising efforts, while $950,000 came from the province, $925,000 from the federal government and $300,000 from the Provincial Ex.
The Dome Building — officially known as Display Building No. 2 — was built for the 1913 Dominion Exhibition.
The goal is to restore the building to its former glory as a “hive of agricultural and community activity.”
The building is designated as a national heritage building, which means it had to be brought back up to historical standards using the same building materials as they did 100 years ago.
“Some of the posts in the building were made from Douglas fir. Well, they don’t grow those trees in Manitoba, so we had to go and find and source that wood,” O’Connor said.
An enhanced sprinkler system had to be installed, as it is a wood building.
The second phase of the project is interior work. North and south walls have been framed and insulated and the interior walls are framed on the east and west sides, domes reinforced, and exterior siding repaired/replaced.
New interior windows are being added and the west doors are being replaced.
Council referred the request to administration.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 22, 2014