Spencerville launches big plans for a small place


Two very active local community organizations in Spencerville, the Spencerville Mill Foundation and Spencerville Business & Community Connections (SBCC), have a new vision for transforming a historic space beside the South Nation River into a vibrant green place for locals and visitors.

A third supporter is Edwardsburgh Cardinal Township which owns the site. Encouraged by enthusiastic Mayor Pat Sayeau, the Township will provide $20,000 for infrastructure improvements to the road and parking area.

The project plan for the new Spencerville Riverside Park includes adding gardens, benches, picnic tables, wheel chair accessible pathways, bike racks, recycling bins, a pergola for sun shelter, historical panels, an information kiosk and map of village businesses and points of interest.

To achieve this venture, the groups have linked with the National Trust for Canada This Place Matters crowdfunding platform dedicated to helping Canadians save places that matter to them. This involves an online competition with other projects in the Central region (Ontario and Quebec) for donations and votes by the closing date of July 17. Spencerville’s goal is to raise $17,000 along with the most votes for the new park. If successful, the project will receive $15,000 in prize money from the National Trust which will fund a second stage of the project.

“Imagine an inviting park space and welcoming centre as you enter our historic village,” said Mill Foundation spokesperson Sheila Fawcett. “Donations will help preserve a treasured heritage site and contribute to a prosperous future for the community.” She also points out that many people travelling Highway 416 between Ottawa and Highway 401 stop in Spencerville for fuel and a stretch. The Riverside Park will be an inviting place for such travelers to relax and refresh while nearby businesses will also benefit. Residents, cyclists, young people and artists who frequent the area will enjoy the improved amenities.

Speaking for the SBCC, project partner and business woman JoAnne Moulton, one of the owners of the flourishing new Joe’s SpencerCity Bar & Grill, underlines that “a vibrant community attracts visitors and new residents thereby supporting local businesses and creating some exciting business opportunities that foster economic growth for the whole community.”

In a way, it all goes back to the entrepreneurial imagination of Peleg Spencer who in 1881 made his way north from the St. Lawrence River through wilderness and stopped at the Big Creek, later called the South Nation River. There he saw the potential to build a wooden dam and saw mill to serve the needs of settlers in the backwoods of Edwardsburgh Township. The original saw mill evolved into a stone grist mill which operated from 1864 till 1972. Today, the Spencerville Mill, the last remaining Mill on the South Nation River, serves as a museum and cultural landmark.

Now there are more big plans for a small place thatwill expand on a historic past and offer a new vision for future attractions and opportunities.

To vote for the Spencerville project, register at:  www.thisplacematters.ca.



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