A group of committed volunteers has passed an important hurdle in the effort to save an historic Shelburne icon.
Major improvements are coming to the Cox Warehouse with the help of more than $230,000 in federal funds.
The federal funds had been in limbo for months after a local microbrewery pulled out of a deal to move into the building, and a search for a new tenant had to be started.
That search by the Shelburne Historical Society ended successfully this month with the signing of a deal with Shelburne Physiotherapy, which will undergo a large expansion as a part of the move.
The investment will make the 110-year-old building suitable for leasing to private businesses for light industrial and retail use. Once a ships' store and a centre of commerce, the warehouse is expected to once again be a hub of activity.
The roof is expected to be finished by the end of November, with work on the rest of the building to be completed by the end of March 2014.
There is still some work to do and the society is going on faith that it can raise more funds because the ACOA grant does not cover the entire scope of work needed to put the Cox Warehouse back in business.
The estimated total cost of the project, based on the tenders received, is $337,348. Subtracting from that total cost the ACOA and municipal grants, plus donations received from fundraising thus far, at least $75,000 more is needed to complete the interior and exterior work. If additional expenses pop up then the historical society will need to raise more money.
Knowing that this funding shortfall was looming, the historical society has been working for over a year now to raise money. So far, $14,080 in donations have been received, as well as $1,600 raised during an auction of warehouse items last October.
The project is still moving forward, thanks to the historical society’s decision to temporarily tap into its equity line of credit. However, the funds withdrawn from the line of credit must be repaid, as they are designated for the operations of the Shelburne Museum Complex, which includes the Dory Shop Museum, the Ross-Thomson House and Store Museum and the Shelburne County Museum.
To the society, tapping into its line of credit is a risk worth taking, believing that the community also recognizes the importance of preserving and restoring the Cox Warehouse and will contribute funds to cover the remaining costs of the renovations.
It is our sincere hope the community will come out to support this brave step and support the effort in any way they can.