|Back to Home||Feature Article - September 30, 2010|
Realizing a dream in Bellrockby Julie Druker
Photo: Kevin Wenkoff and Rowena (Leonard) Reynolds a former teacher in Bellrock celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Community Hall
In May of 2009 a revitalization campaign began to save the Bellrock Community Hall. Just a year and a half later, the committed volunteers who have worked tirelessly on the campaign had a busy day celebrating and reaping what they’ve sown. On September 25 over 100 diners tucked into a festive meal of roast pork (the first old-style pig roast to be held at the hall in over a decade) for a fundraiser celebrating the rebirth of the 60-year-old community hall and former one-room school house. The school closed its doors in 1949 and shortly thereafter became the Bellrock Community Hall.
The meal followed an earlier afternoon meet and greet where former students and staff of school gathered to remember the past and celebrate the future of the hall that is once again becoming the focal point of the Bellrock community.
Kevin Wenkoff, who helped instigate the campaign and who is chair of the Bellrock Community Hall Committee, spoke of the long way he and his committee have come in such a short time. “It's all happened pretty fast. So far with the help of two separate grants from the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC) we have completed signage for the hall and the village and also done a number of hall upgrades, which included the rewiring of the entire building. That work will be completed this week.”
The committee is also hoping to secure a grant from the Trillium Foundation that will allow upgrades to the kitchen along with the construction of accessible washroom facilities and much more.
Wenkoff said that there are also plans in the works to form the Bellrock Schoolhouse Theater, which Wenkoff says will become a subsidiary of the hall association. “For years there has been widespread interest in forming a theater in the Verona area and the hall is a perfect location for a small theater venue. Our goal is to promote the arts in the local community and to get people of all ages involved.”
The venue will seat 84 theater-goers and Wenkoff is hoping that a Trillium grant will allow for improved lighting and the building of a new stage and dressing room.
“We'd love to have the stage completed before Christmas, in which case we would be able to put on our first show this spring.”
So far Kim Ondaatje of Blue Roof farm has donated a piano and a tape recorder to the cause.
Upcoming events at the hall include an Aboriginal Thanksgiving celebration and potluck on Saturday October 2, where participants will learn aboriginal teachings and how to make drums.
In Bellrock the old adage “If you build it, they will come” is proving to be true.