A big amount of community pride is being shown in the little village of Bracken, as the region rallies around a $45,000 fund-raising effort to refurbish the Bracken Community Centre.
While the tiny community boasts only 20 ratepayers, the Village of Bracken serves as an important hub for the residents living between Val Marie and Climax.
“Bracken is very unique in the sense that normally when a community or a village or municipality has a few people, then it tends to die out and it kind of disappears off the map,” explained Monique Fehr, Administrator for the Village of Bracken.
“But we have such a strong regional function. We serve as a little hub in our area between Val Marie and Climax where all the farmers and ranchers come to for groceries, for hardware, for gasoline, for mail.”
“It is one of our last buildings in our community that remains from the past, and we are passionate about renovating that and keeping that building for generations to come.”
The Bracken Community Centre serves as a key hub in the region, with the building housing the Post Office, a Corner Library, as well as The Coffee Shop and meeting room area which provides a multi-use kitchen and meeting space for groups and businesses in the region.
However, the mid 1920s vintage building is starting to show its age, and needs considerable work to get it into a more usable condition. It is experiencing some foundation problems at the front of the building, all the way to roof improvements.
“The front foundation in the basement of the building that needs strengthening. There’s some wood that has rotted away over time, so there’s some cement that needs to be poured in there and some pillars that need to be either replaced or strengthened,” Fehr explained.
“We would like to see the front facade of the building replaced. It is a brick facade, and the brick is no longer stable and it has to be removed. So we would like to completely remove it, and bring it back into its original state, just with newer material.”
The roof is experiencing some problems with standing water in one area, and another area is leaking, so the entire roof needs to be renewed.
As the building was formerly attached to the Bracken Hotel, which was demolished two years ago, one wall is only composed of porous brick that is exposed to the elements so that wall needs to be stuccoed.
An ambitious fundraising initiative is successfully rolling along to refurbish the building. The Village of Bracken has committed $10,000 to the project, and an estimated $10,000 will be raised through local donations. The remaining $15,000 will be generated through a call for corporate support for the work.
Last Monday, Pioneer Richardson formally presented a $10,000 corporate donation to the project though the Richardson Foundation.
“Resources are always limited in smaller communities, so it’s enjoyable to see the community get together to make a project happen. But a project like this, where there is a larger amount of funds needed, we’re so thankful to see corporate sponsors,” Fehr said. “We are so grateful for this very generous donation.”
To date, they have raised $32,300 towards their $45,000 project. With the funds already raised, they are now aiming for a late 2018 or early 2019 project start.
Individuals and businesses interested in supporting the renovation work can people can donate through the Village of Bracken.