Abram-Village singing happy tune after announcement
ABRAM-VILLAGE –After years of planning and keeping his hopes in check, Raymond Bernard can finally allow himself to feel a bit excitement about his community’s latest big project.
“All that I can say is that we’ve been waiting for this for so long – it’s hard to believe that it’s happening,” said Bernard, director of the Centre Expo-Festival.
“And now that we know it’s happening, I don’t know, you wonder if we’re ready for that or not – because it really is a big thing, it’s going to change so many things.”
The project is called the Musical Village and it got a significant shot of provincial government funding on Thursday.
In a press conference complete with Acadian step-dancers and musicians, the government announced it will contribute $350,000 to the project, $200,000 from Skills P.E.I. and $150,000 from the Island Community Fund.
Federal money for the project was announced earlier this summer.
The price tag for the whole project has been tagged at about $1.4 million.
The Musical Village is essentially an expansion of the existing Centre Expo-Festival, located at the heart of the Abram-Village hamlet.
The current centre has a small stage, a kitchen and a dining area that is used as a restaurant in the tourist season and for receptions and various other events in the winter.
The expansion will remodel the inside of the structure, adding new washrooms, more community and banquet space, a cultural display on Acadian music and various other features.
The building will also add two semi-detached stages to its exterior, change part of its façade to mimic colourful local architecture and install an outdoor café.
It will also feature a full program of musical shows throughout the summer season.
Local MLA Sonny Gallant said at the funding announcement on Thursday that the project is a step in the right direction for the community.
“It’ll be a hub for the area and hopefully it will be something that will be here and that we can be proud of for a long time to come,” said Gallant.
Gallant was joined at the announcement by Advanced Learning Minister Allan Roach and Rural Development Minister Ron MacKinley.
“(The project) will see long-term community benefits including job creation, increased tourism and economic spinoff for local businesses,” said Roach.
“This project will also provide a 26-week work experience in the construction field to seven Islanders.”
Renovations to the inside of the building are expected to get underway within the next couple of weeks and will be completed sometime in October while the exterior of the build will be completed in the fall.