Why does The Hub want to be downtown?
The building at 118 Mill Street is our most valuable asset because we own it “free and clear”. It affords a level of financial negotiating power that very few non-profit organizations have. The Royal Bank of Canada sold this building to us for the grand sum of $1 in 1998. Without paying for the expense of a rented commercial space, we have and will continue to focus on the best ways to serve our community.
118 Mill St. has a history we can all relate to. It has always been a meeting place – a store, a movie theatre, a bank, even a dentist office — and for 44 years, our beloved Hub. The past and the future are reflected in the people who pass through our doors every day: our shoppers, our volunteers, our workers, our friends. The building is our talisman for an inclusive community.
The Hub also contributes to the economy of the downtown core. For a recent grant application, we received a support letter signed by the businesses in the downtown Almonte retail district:
“The HUB has anchored the top end of our retail district and has contributed to the vitality and well being of our community for decades. It has helped democratize the shopping experience and brought people into the downtown that might otherwise not come. It has given people jobs that they might otherwise not be able to get and has put hundreds of thousands of dollars into various causes and projects that have helped make Mississippi Mills a progressive, inclusive, sustainable and protective community.” – Feb 2018
When will The Hub return to 118 Mill Street?
Target: December 2018.
Our lease to accommodate The Hub in the Almonte Industrial Park expires on January 1st, 2019. Carrying multiple rentals at that location impinges on our ability to donate to the community, so it is essential that the Hub return to 118 Mill Street. In addition, our Rebound recycled furniture and electronics store needs to reclaim the space it occupied before The Hub moved to the Industrial Park so it too can continue to thrive. Our long-term sustainability depends on this.
How much will it cost to repair and renovate 118 Mill Street?
If we addressed just short-term repairs, it would be less than $20,000. However, if we did this, we would be moving back to just what we had before and would face future repair bills.
Given that our building is now vacant, The Hub’s Futures Committee saw the opportunity to undertake a long-term rethink of the space. In doing so, the many concerns and hopes shared by staff, volunteers and customers related to a purpose-built floor plan, accessibility, and structural and operational efficiencies can finally be addressed.
How will The Hub pay for this?
We included the repair and renovation of 118 Mill Street in our financial planning over the years and have $100,000 allocated from our available funds. We applied for two grants to offset some of the projected costs and are in the process of launching a fundraising campaign to augment the amount needed to support this effort. Other than some grants, this will be the first time we will be directly asking members of our community for cash contributions.
What will be done as part of the renovation at 118 Mill Street?
The Hub struggled to maximize retail space in an old bank that was itself converted from an old movie theatre. By using the opportunity to renovate as well as repair, The Hub is removing drop ceilings, and reclaiming the vertical space which can be converted to a 2nd floor mezzanine for even more space and offices for social services. We are also creating an expanded purpose-built retail space that is approximately 30% larger. We are also adding communal and sorting areas, upgrading an accessible public bathroom and ensuring a more barrier-free environment. We have taken a phased approach for work to be completed in whole or in part depending on the success of our fundraising efforts.
How can I help?
Continue to support your Board! Volunteer, shop at the Hub and spread the word to your friends and neighbours that what we do is important for our community. We cannot do this without you and we still have big decisions to make which are, frankly, quite daunting.
Please be consider a donation to our Building Fund. The Hub is a charitable organization and can issue tax receipts.
We often remind ourselves that the women of 1974 must have felt the same way and more often than not, we look around the table and say, “Yes, we can.”
Perhaps now we can add, “Let’s do it again!”