Fifty years ago Foley residents picked up hammers, offered their time and donated their hard earned money to help build a hall on the fair grounds. Since then, it’s been home to countless children’s parties, weddings and sessions of dog obedience training, as well as the centre of the fall fair.
The Foley Agricultural Society not only raised the funds to build it, but has continued to raise the money for its upkeep.
The hall has acted as a municipal community centre in many ways over the years, from the site of public meetings to being designated the emergency gathering place for residents.
The hall is in need of work now, though, along with the municipally-owned fire hall and library that sit beside it.
Now, after much back and forth between the two parties, they’ve agreed the township will take over ownership of the building and renovate it to include a new library.
The board of the society is recommending the members approve the deal at an August 22 meeting.
The agricultural society will continue to be recognized for its contribution and will operate out of the facility.
It will also maintain ownership of the back lot, where the horse ring and demo pit are located.
The agreement runs for 20 years, with two termination clauses that, if triggered, revert ownership back to the ag society at no cost.
It’s not an easy decision for ag society members.
It’s hard to let go of something you’ve worked so hard to establish and maintain; something that you’ve invested so much in and helped create with your own hands.
But the facility does need work and the only way the township will invest in it, and can apply for government grants to help cover costs, is if it owns the facility.
The board has made a recommendation and now it’s up to the members to think long and hard on the issue and decide what is best for the community.
The choice is theirs to make.