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Living‘Back to the Future’ – The Hub returns to 118 Mill Street!

‘Back to the Future’ – The Hub returns to 118 Mill Street!

The Hub Building Fund recently received a grant of just over $53,000, from Valley Heartland Community Futures Development Corporation through the Eastern Ontario Development Program, for our 118 Mill St. project to repair and renovate. This grant will apply to our $250,000 fundraising target and allows The Hub to start repair and renovations immediately. 

We know our community has questions related to our move back to our former location in the downtown core and we hope the FAQ below will address any issues or concerns.

Why does The Hub want to be downtown?

The building at 118 Mill our most valuable asset because we own it. It affords a level of negotiating power that very few non-profit organizations have. We are cash positive because the Royal Bank of Canada ceded this building to us for $1 in 1998. Without the expense of a rented commercial space, we can better meet our goal to serve our community.

118 Mill St. has a history to which we can all relate. It has always been a meeting place: a store, a movie theatre, a bank, even a dentist office, and our beloved Hub.  The past and the future are reflected in the people who pass through our doors every day: our shoppers, our volunteers, our workers, our friends. The building is our talisman to what community is and should be.

Further, and most important, the Hub contributes to the economy of the downtown core. For a recent grant application, we received a support letter signed by the businesses in the Almonte retail district:

The HUB has anchored the top end of our retail district and has contributed to the vitality and well being of our community for decades. It has helped democratize the shopping experience and brought people into the downtown that might otherwise not come. It has given people jobs that they might otherwise not be able to get and has put hundreds of thousands of dollars into various causes and projects that have helped make Mississippi Mills a progressive, inclusive, sustainable and protective community.” – Feb 2018

When will The Hub return to 118 Mill St? Target: December 2018.

Our lease to accommodate The Hub in the Industrial Park expires on January 1st, 2019. Carrying multiple rentals at that location impinges on our ability to donate to the community, so it is essential that the Hub return to 118 Mill Street. In addition, Rebound needs to reclaim the space it occupied before The Hub moved to the Industrial Park so it too can continue to thrive. Our long-term sustainability depends on this.

How much will it cost to repair and renovate 118 Mill St?

If we addressed just the repair, it would be less than $20K. However, if we did this, we would be moving back to just what we had before.

Given that the space is now vacant, the Futures Committee felt the time to act on a purpose-built renovation is at hand. In doing so, the concerns and the hopes shared by staff, volunteers and customers related to floor plan, accessibility, and structural and operational efficiencies could be addressed. The Futures Committee has embarked on an expanded plan that includes substantial renovations to open the space and prepare for future growth and reduce costs over time.

In consideration of the future, we set a Phase 1 fundraising target at $250,000.

How will The Hub pay for this?

We included the repair and renovation of 118 Mill St. in our financial planning over the years and have $100,000 allocated from our available funds. We have applied for grants to offset some of the projected costs and are in the process of building our fundraising program to augment the amount needed to support this effort. Over the past 43 years we have prided ourselves on being self-sufficient and have only twice requested financial support in the form of Trillium grants.

What will be done as part of the renovation at 118 Mill St.?

The Hub struggled to maximize retail space in an old bank that was itself converted from an old movie theatre. By using the opportunity to renovate as well as repair, The Hub can reclaim the vertical space (remove drop ceilings) which can be converted to a 2nd floor mezzanine for even more  space and perhaps offices for social services, create an expanded purpose-built retail space on the main floor (approx. 30% larger), add communal and sorting areas, upgrade the accessible public bathroom (currently missing from the top of Mill Street) and ensure a more barrier-free environment. We have taken a phased approach for work to be completed in whole or in part depending on the success of our fundraising efforts.

When can we see the plans for 118 Mill St?

Architect, Peter Mansfield completed the initial architectural consultation pro bono which included draft drawings of the new space. We are so grateful for his professionalism and the generous gift of his time. These drawings have been used to submit grant applications and to share with contractors to estimate the cost of the work to be completed. We shared the initial draft drawings at our membership meeting in February,  and we will look to post these at The Hub in the upcoming weeks as we continue to refine.

How can we help?

Continue to shop at the Hub and spread the word to your friends and neighbours that what we do is important for our community. We cannot do this without you and we still have big decisions to make which are, frankly, quite daunting and scary.

We often remind ourselves that the women of 1974 must have felt the same way and more often than naught, we look around the table and say, ‘Yes, we can’.

Perhaps now we can add, ‘Let’s do it again!’.

The ACC board




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