We’ve been so focused on getting things done, it took a couple of posts on-line to remind us that we haven’t spelled out the part about ‘How We Plan to Do It.’ In my book, that’s not good. So here’s the plan as we’ve thought it through so far. (Additional ideas welcome!)
Who Are We?
First, who’s the ‘we’? Basically, five people who just want to restore the mill and make it, once again, an economic engine for the township (as many other communities have done with heritage buildings). We are:
- Susan Berlin, Watsons Corners
- Linda Dunn, Lanark
- John Foliot, Lanark
- Mary Vandenhoff, McDonalds Corners
- Michael Rikley-Lancaster, executive director/curator, the Mississippi Mills Textile Museum
We have advice and support from Brian Arnott, Consultant, heritage and cultural projects; and the Canada Heritage Trust.
The Current Plan
We believe that eventually our offer to take an option will be accepted. When that happens a couple of us will put down a deposit (in escrow) which will be held in trust till we decide whether we should take up the option. We’ll have a year to make that decision, during which time we will:
- Create a non-profit corporation, probably with charitable status so we can give tax receipts.
- Put together a budget (what will demolition of the cement block buildings cost? Will there be a need for environmental clean-up, and if so, what will that cost? What will repairing the building (roof, interior, heating, electrical etc.) cost?
- Work with the community to develop a vision and plan for how the building should be restored and what uses it should be put to.
- Based on (b) and (c) create a business plan for how to accomplish the restoration. The quality of the business plan is crucial to successfully applying for grants.
- Apply for federal heritage funds (they’re already set aside – if they don’t come to us, they’ll go to another community’s heritage proposal); for foundation grants; and to private benefactors (who will get tax receipts for their donations).
As we approach the end of the option period, the community Board will make a decision on whether or not the project is feasible.
- If it is feasible, we go ahead; the deposit cheque is cashed and that amount included in the budget plan (thus returned to the individuals who provided it); and the business plan is carried out, step by step. Our advisers have carried out this sort of project many times before, so we won’t be just winging it.
- If it’s not feasible, we don’t take up the option, the deposit is returned and we’ll have to say we tried and couldn’t make it work.