Hello Neighbours 🙂 I know this is lengthy, but bear with me – I need to tell you this story 🙂 You’ve seen or heard us mention the Hall Renovation over the past several months (or even years!), but as we move into 2023 we are now looking forward to our construction phase to begin in July 2023! Your AGCL has been working towards a facility upgrade for almost a decade, and now that we are this close, we are also seeking some additional support from the community to raise funds to assist with a few costs that are not covered by the Grant money that we have been awarded. To that end, I thought it worth sharing the steps we’ve taken to get us to this point.
As many of you know, the initial goal was to build an addition onto the existing Hall, providing a new, large room for multi-purpose community use. In order for that to be possible, the electrical transformer that serviced the building had to be relocated, which was a project that took a couple of years to complete as it involved obtaining provincial and municipal grants, and much coordination with Epcor and the City of Edmonton. Once the additional land space was available for use, the building plans could be initiated and the appropriate grant applications to support a building expansion, could be submitted.
Your AGCL volunteers applied for municipal and provincial grants in the amount of $400,000 (each) in the hopes that we would have almost $1,000,000 to complete the expansion. We were successful in being awarded a large City of Edmonton grant in 2020 (up to $400,000), but were denied a provincial grant three years in a row (2019, 2020, 2021). Feedback received from the Province indicated that it was unlikely we would be considered for this grant without further significant investment by the League to move the project to a “construction ready” stage, and even then, there was no guarantee a grant would be forthcoming. However, in the Spring of 2022, the City of Edmonton advised that they would allow us to still collect on our large municipal grant if we wished to change the scope of our project. It’s also worth noting that the large municipal grant option was suspended in 2022, making it likely that this would be our last opportunity to receive significant financial support for a single project. The League had to make a decision to either relinquish the grant opportunity and leave things as is, or re-vamp the plans to see what kind of facility upgrade would be possible with a revised budget, and keep pushing forward. We chose the latter 🙂
Working with a construction consultant, a structural engineer and an architect, we have revisited our original building footprint and developed a plan that will see significant changes to the configuration of existing floor space. Most notably, we will be removing interior walls to create a large, open-space main room that will have new garden doors and picture windows, installing a new kitchen and redesigning storage spaces to better accommodate League assets.
The League has set aside a significant amount of savings to match against the grant money to give us the largest working budget possible. However, we are unable to use grant money to purchase non-fixed equipment (ie. fridge, stove, dishwasher, kitchen implements, AV equipment, new furniture etc). To that end, the League is seeking the support of the community in the form of straight-up donations towards the cause! To date, we have done little community-based fundraising because we were never sure the project would be able to move forward, and we didn’t want to ask for, and collect money if we couldn’t proceed. But now, here we are, just a few months away! We are calling this our Legacy Project!
Our goal is to raise $25,000 directly from you (our community members); a short ’n sweet campaign to support bringing this vision to reality. Should we meet our goal, every dollar received over and above can be matched to our Grant money to double that dollar, and retain league savings for future projects. In the coming weeks we will share a few more stories about this community and this League, as well as information about how to donate and we hope you will be inspired to make the revitalization of our community hub part of your Legacy too 🙂
President – AGCL
I thought it worthwhile to share my own story as to why I’ve invested my time, energy & money into doing what I can to give something back to Aspen/Westbrook. Darin & I moved to this neighbourhood in 2013, with our 3 children and our hopes for a fresh start with our newly blended family. Though we searched several neighbourhoods on the 119/122nd St corridor, we found our perfect home here in Aspen! Our immediate neighbours were super welcoming, and we quickly came to love being in this ‘hood, with it’s friendly residents and abundant trees and green spaces. How lucky were we!?! We heard a couple of our neighbours were actively involved in the community league and we quickly learned this was a great way to be able to meet some other locals 🙂 Rowan (our youngest), was set to start Gr.1 at Westbrook in 2014, but attending and volunteering at some of the community events that were held throughout the preceding year gave us opportunities to begin to become a part of it all.
Since 2013 we had been told how the League was planning/hoping to revitalize the Hall in order to have a more accommodating space for both community and personal use; we could see how this was necessary and wanted to help make it happen. I joined the Board in 2018, and then moved into the President’s role in 2021, largely so that I could continue to push for this project to move forward. Darin has also been heavily involved as the Building Committee Chair and in the past couple of years, our household has devoted countless hours working towards what has been a very long-term community initiative. I could see how it took it’s toll on previous Board members and community volunteers…. and I’ll admit, at times I feel overwhelmed by the task! But here we are – so close now…
So why do I do it?? For me, it’s personal. We came into this neighbourhood looking for a new life together – and I really feel like this community has played a big role in giving that to us. We didn’t know anyone here when we moved in, but being involved in this League for the past 9 years has given us the chance to connect with neighbourhood peeps who have now become some of our best friends – lifetime kinds of friends. I feel in those early days when we were taking big steps in our family life, we were warmly welcomed by this community and that went a long way to making us feel at “home” here. I invest now in this community because I appreciate all it has brought me, and I want to pay it forward so those who come after us, can also have the feeling of belonging – that they are “Home”. I hope this can be part of my Aspen Legacy 🙂 Everyone has a story – we ask that you please consider making a donation towards this long-time community vision, and make the Legacy Project part of your ‘Aspen/Westbrook story’. –
President – AGCL
Your AGCL League recognizes that donating to any cause is a very personal decision, and the amount that a family can contribute is also unique to each households circumstances. We are not asking for any minimum donation, nor will we limit you by a maximum amount. Instead, we are hoping to garner a variety of levels of support across as vast a cross-section of our community residents as possible, giving everyone a chance to be part of this Legacy. Please consider the longevity of the project that you are helping to make happen, knowing that your gift will have a lasting impact for decades to come!
How To Donate:
- Plan to attend our AGM March 22nd, 7pm at the Community Hall (12015 39A Ave); find out all about the plans and construction timelines, and bring your cheque or cash donations to be collected in person.
- Drop your donation (in an envelope) in the League mailbox located on the door of the Community Hall (12015 39A Ave). Make sure to include your name & contact info so we can record your contribution.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your Board President will come by your home and personally pick up your donation.
- EFT to email@example.com – include your full name, email & phone number in the message section. All EFT’s received will receive a response to confirm the donation was received and recorded.
*While we are a non-profit society, we are not a registered charity, so we can’t give out tax receipts. But 100% of your donations will go straight to the project!
Our fundraising drive to raise additional money towards the Hall revitalization via straight-up cash donations is time limited and intended to run from Feb 15th to March 31st. By the end of March, the League would like to be able to finalize the funding arrangements with the City of Edmonton, requiring us to know how much total funding we have available to match towards our maximum grant amount possible. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $25,000 for the non-fixed items that are not covered by grant money, but the more money we raise, the more wish-list items we can purchase!
- You’ll be giving back to your community and paying it forward for families to enjoy our League grounds for decades to come!
- It will make you feel good to be a part of this project 🙂
- All donations will be recorded and all donors will be recognized in posterity through a “yet-to-be-determined” installation at the new Hall.