SEGUIN TWP. – Seguin council officially agreed to take over the Foley Ag Hall Tuesday.
With that, staff is preparing a $425,000 grant application for the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund.
The township formally adopted the memorandum of understanding with the Foley Agricultural Society at its Tuesday night council meeting. Ag Society members vote on the agreement August 22, with the board recommending they accept the deal.
The township proposes putting $1.28 million, including the $425,000 grant it will apply for, into the Foley Agricultural Hall to renovate it and incorporate a new municipal library and agricultural society office.
“I’m really pleased,” said Mayor David Conn. “This is a really exciting project in Foley and we can’t do better than to partner with them.”
Coun. Bruce Gibbon echoed his sentiments.
“I think this is a great step forward,” said Gibbon. “I very much wanted to see this happen.”
The grant application deadline is August 24. If the society’s membership turns down the agreement, the township is preparing a second application for $200,000 for renovations to the Rosseau Memorial Hall as backup.
“We want to go after this grant money,” said Conn. “If we can’t use it at Foley, because they turn it down, we want to use it at the Rosseau Memorial Hall for wheelchair access, etc, which is a second priority.”
If the township doesn’t come up with enough money or the renovation hasn’t started by April 14, 2014, the property would revert back to the agricultural society. Also, if the township determines in the next 20 years, which is the term of the memorandum, that the facility isn’t viable as a community centre then the ag society would regain ownership of it.
In Foley, alongside renovations at the agricultural hall, the township plans to put $685,000 towards the fire hall.
Last year, the Foley Task Force, which included members of the agricultural board, proposed a $6.1 million project that included a new fire hall and community centre with built-in library. Under that proposal, the agricultural society would have handed over ownership of the property.
The $6.1 million project was turned down this spring by the township, with a price tag that by far exceeded the $900,000 budgeted by council, and the task force disbanded.