PEI

Scaled-down Stompin' Tom Centre moving forward

Renovations have started on the old schoolhouse Stompin' Tom Connors once attended in Tignish, P.E.I.

'We do not feel that it's going to compromise the experience of the visitor to the centre at all'

The old schoolhouse where Stompin' Tom Connors once attended will be part of the new Stompin' Tom Centre. (Lindsay Carroll/CBC)

Renovations have started on the old schoolhouse Stompin' Tom Connors once attended in Tignish, P.E.I.

It's the first part of the new Stompin' Tom Centre, which will begin construction in the fall.

The centre will be significantly scaled back from the original $1.9 million plans because Tignish Initiatives was denied $350,000 from Heritage Canada for not meeting the criteria of being an arts or heritage organization.

I think it will actually be a primary motivator to bring people to western P.E.I.- Anne Arsenault

One of the features that had to be scaled down was the cafe, said Anne Arsenault, general manager of Tignish Initiatives.

Instead, there will be a take-out counter with a short menu.

Renovations to the schoolhouse will include an historic display of what it looked like when Stompin' Tom attended around the 1940s. (Lindsay Carroll/CBC)

There will be fewer exterior lights, she said, and a gravel parking lot instead of paved.

Plans for a deck to expand seating has also been scrapped for the time being, she said.

Cabaret-style space

Despite the setback, Arsenault said the core objectives for the centre will still be met, including a cabaret-style entertainment space that will seat 100 with a small stage.

The grand opening for the Stompin' Tom Centre in Tignish is slated for Canada Day of 2017.

"We do not feel that it's going to compromise the experience of the visitor to the centre at all," she said. "In the future, if things go well, you know we'll be able to upgrade some of those elements that we've had to scale back. I think it will actually be a primary motivator to bring people to western P.E.I."

Historic display

Renovations to the school house will include an historic display of what it looked like when Stompin' Tom attended the school, as well as interactive digital components, Arsenault said.

The grand opening for the centre is slated for Canada Day of 2017.

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