| Jul 02, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - July 2, 2009 More than a facelift: a transformationBy Jeff Green

Above: The new facade of the Sharbot Lake Legion. Left: Before it was improved.

When the Trillium Foundation granted $63,800 to Legion Branch 425 (The Hollowood Branch) of Sharbot Lake for renovations, it was one of the first grants to a Legion in the region.

Given the Legion's tradition of volunteerism it also turned out to be $63,000 that became a whole lot more.

Branch President Patty Middleton said, “Between the 10 or so people who worked on the application, and volunteers who worked on parts of the project not covered by the Trillium grant, 800 to 1,000 volunteer hours went into the overall renovation”.

The renovation, which improved the building on the outside through a new entrance way, siding, insulation, and a wheelchair ramp, and modernized and improved the inside of the building, has “made the building more useful for us and more attractive for outside renters,” said Patty Middleton.

An open house to show off the renovations and thank all of the volunteers who worked on the project took place last Sunday, June 28. Local adjudicator Nina Jenkins represented the Trillium Foundation at the event.

The branch was built mostly by volunteers back in 1958. “It was overdue for an upgrade,” according to Middleton, “it was run down pretty badly; the tiles were lifting, and there was no insulation on the outside.” It was losing its appeal even for members when the idea of seeking a Trillium grant struck her about three years ago.

“It was a lot more complicated than I originally thought, but people came through to work through all the details, and we got the grant and got all the work done and more,” she said.

In addition to the work that Trillium covered, Legion members built new cabinets, put on all new trim, painted throughout and did an extensive clean up throughout the building.

The Legion members also made use of their building fund to enhance the building project that the Trillium Foundation funded, but one thing they did not do was seek any form of bank loan or mortgage.

“We've never had a mortgage on this hall,” Patty Middleton said, “and we didn't want to start now. Even though this was the biggest renovation we've ever done, we decided that we would work with what we had, like we've always done.”

The renovations, which were completed in May, were done in time for a busy summer of use for the hall, which will be hosting the entire zone for a fishing derby this coming weekend (July 3, 4, and 5).

The building will also be more attractive as a well-equipped but informal gathering place for birthdays, anniversaries and other events, at a very reasonable rental cost.

The Hollowood branch has contributed extensively to the community life in Sharbot Lake and vicinity for over 50 years, between Friday dinners, Legion speaking, poetry and poster contests, and ceremonial events such as Remembrance Day. With the upgrades to the hall, it will be able to serve those purposes and others for many years to come.

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