Transforming the southern landscape of Sunnybrook Farm Museum into a living farm community took another step forward this week.
A sod-turning ceremony on Thursday marked the start of the next phase of the South Development Project –– the Co-operative Mercantile Store and upgrades to the site’s water and sanitary services.
Construction is expected to get underway next spring with the goal to begin welcoming visitors inside the building by the fall of 2014. The credit union/store will house museum artifacts.
“Buildings are our No 1 priority,” said Ian Warwick, farm museum executive director. “We need to build more space. We need to store more artifacts. People in Red Deer want to donate their personal history and their treasured possessions to the museums in Red Deer.”
Warwick said the museum is at capacity and the more buildings they can build, the more storage space.
But most importantly, Warwick said the museum wants to celebrate the farm community.
Sunnybrook Farm is developing the southern portion of the site as part of its long-term strategic plans. The 1920s Heritage Garage opened in May. After the store is up and running, the museum will turn its attention to the Calder School Interpretive Centre.
The school was moved from its location about 20 km east of Innisfail to the museum in 2008. Warwick said this is a larger fundraising project that will come with an estimated $400,000 price tag.
Other plans include relocating the museum’s entrance and parking areas.
On hand for the sod turning was Alberta Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk and other guests. Klimchuk, who visited the museum for the first time, noted the uniqueness of having the museum in a residential area. She said museums protect history and ensure future generations know about it.
The $390,000 store/credit union project was partially financed with a $110,000 grant from the province’s Community Facility Enhancement Program, as well as with funds from Red Deer Co-op, Servus Credit Union, Concentra Financial, The Co-operators, and UFA Co-operative.