Stanley Bridge Centre getting major upgrades this summer
Renovations to include more space for market vendors and new cafe
Old church pews and antique furniture are scattered throughout the Stanley Bridge Centre building and the society that owns the centre says it's a sign of big changes to come.
The Stanley Bridge Memorial Society is preparing for a major renovation for the aging building. The old church has served as a community centre, farmers market and concert venue for six years, but organizers have a vision to improve the centre by creating more spaces for market vendors and adding a permanent cafe.
Don Reid, secretary of the society, said the group is looking to spend over $80,000 on the upcoming renovations.
The project will include a new foundation and entrance to make the centre more accessible as well as major upgrades to the inside of the building.
"There's going to be a kitchen, two washrooms, an expansion of the interior of the building and complete work on the exterior and especially the roof," Reid added.
New cafe, more space for vendors
A number of businesses have expressed interest in operating a cafe in the building that would be open seven days a week, Reid said.
"Through the cafe … we would have artisans show their wares and show their pictures, portraits, needle-point, quilting in the cafe itself."
The renovations will also allow the building to expand the farmers market and create spaces for at least 10 vendors within the building and another 10 in the outdoor market.
"The name we want to tag it is more of an open market so that it would expand the farmer's market to have more items, more inventory, more products," Reid said.
The hope is to also continue hosting a weekly concert series at the building on Sunday evenings throughout the summer, he added.
Work to begin next month
Reid said work on the building is expected to begin next month and he hopes it will be finished by this summer.
He said the society hopes the improvements will also make the centre a more attractive destination for tourists during summer months.
"We've established that per day, about 10,000 cars go through the roundabout here in Stanley Bridge," Reid said.
"From the intersection, we're in sight and I mean we have banners that are those high flying banners that will catch people's attention and draw them to our new cafe, we hope."
Reid said this project is just the beginning.
He said the group plans to continue raising money by auctioning off some of the artifacts from the old church, to make more improvements to the building, including moving it to another spot on the property to make room for a bigger parking lot.
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With files from Sarah MacMillan