Historic church of Nampa to transform

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On October 20, a grant was awarded to the Nampa & District Museum, giving the green light to a project to convert a historic church in Nampa.

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“We are very excited!” said Carson Murphy, director of the museum. “I want to start right away! “

The Nampa and District Historical Society (NDHS) is receiving $ 30,000 from the Rural Communities Foundation (RCF) to convert the United Church into a wheelchair accessible community cultural center. The church will be used as an extension of the museum, to offer cultural and heritage programs, and will house important museum artefacts.

“It’s just wonderful news!” said Rick Helgeson, Chairman of the NDHS Board of Directors. He said details will be determined at board meetings, starting in November. In 2015, the United Church congregation closed its doors and was turned over to NDHS. “That’s why we applied for the grant; it’s old enough to be considered an antique, ”Helgeson said. “So we want to keep it restored, maintain it, so that it doesn’t go to waste.”

The church is going to undergo a great transformation. Murphy explained, “The main area of ​​the building – we’re going to preserve the open space and elements of the church – the arched windows, for example – and update the decor, hopefully make further improvements to the wiring. . “

Murphy stressed that the project is not a restoration. “It is about reallocating the building while preserving certain elements of character,” he said. “We are not preserving her as a United Church (as it was) in her past life. In the request, it is written: “Built in 1949, the United Church was an important part of the religious, cultural and social fabric of the community.

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With the changes, Murphy said, “We make it open and welcoming for everyone.”

Also in the app, is “Other community organizations and corporations such as FCSS, will use it to deliver their programs and events. Finally, the community can use it for private events and functions. The completed project will be a community asset that will improve the lives of villagers and rural residents… The Historical Society has undertaken similar successful projects in the past, including the restoration of a log house, historic water reservoir. and the erection of a new museum building.

Helgeson said part of the facility is currently leased to a small business. “Once we have done the renovations, we hope to expand to more businesses there – a hair salon (store) for example,” he said.

Murphy noted that NDHS is required to contribute $ 25,000 to the project. “Some of the money can come from the reserve fund; some are also work in kind, and we will be looking for donations from local people and businesses, ”he said. “We have two years to complete the project; Hopefully most can be done by the end of 2022.

NDHS was one of five communities in Alberta to share the RCF’s $ 100,000 grant. Other grant recipients are the Drayton Valley and District Historical Society, which will receive $ 10,000 to restore the original wood floor of the old Anglican Church; the Bow Valley Riding Association of Canmore, which will receive $ 13,335 to build a 720-meter fence around part of its arena; the Carmangay Community Center, which will receive $ 22,365 to install commercial grade flooring and noise reduction ceiling tiles in the main lobby and; the Eaglesham and District Agricultural Society which will get $ 24,300 for a sun shelter on its fairground. The foundation’s mandate, says a press release, “is to improve the sustainability of farmers and ranchers in Alberta by improving access to funding for educational, recreational and cultural facilities and programs in Alberta. The UFA Rural Communities Foundation has announced a five-year commitment of $ 500,000 to rural communities. We look forward to donating an additional $ 100,000 in 2022. ”

Joanne McQuarrie / Postmedia Staff

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