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Heritage reserve fund to provide $20K for new stand for historic bell

The bell is 118 years old and was located on River Street for decades, where it was used to announce curfews, during prohibition, and for fires

An important piece of Moose Jaw’s history will soon be restored, as a new stand will be constructed to hold the historic town bell.

During the 2021 budget deliberation meeting on Dec. 16, city council voted 6-1 to allocate $20,000 from the heritage reserve account to construct a stand for the bell. It also voted to have the parks department work with the heritage advisory committee on the bell stand’s final design and location and ensure the department provides council with a report about the recommended design and location before construction commences.

Coun. Dawn Luhning was opposed.

Council discussion

“I’m happy to see (this) here before us today,” said Coun. Crystal Froese, who sits on the heritage advisory committee.

The bell is 118 years old and was located on River Street for many decades, she explained. It was used to signal curfew, during prohibition, and to announce fires. It has plenty of history behind it, while it’s great that the bell still exists and is in good condition.

While the heritage reserve account was initially set up to fund rehabilitating the Natatorium, there are no plans anytime soon to address that building, added Froese. It will be great to have some piece of the community’s history restored using this fund.

The current balance of that account is $23,473; after money is withdrawn to construct the bell stand, $3,473 will remain.

Project background

The heritage advisory committee brought forward two motions in early 2020 about using money in the reserve fund to construct a bell stand and restore the city hall clock face and bell, parks and recreation director Derek Blais explained. While the bell stand will proceed next year, the department plans to replace the city hall clock face and bell in 2023 as part of its five-year capital plan.

The report to council supports the Official Community Plan’s cultural heritage objective, which is to identify, conserve and interpret the built heritage of Moose Jaw in a planned, selective and economically feasible manner that benefits present and future generations of residents and visitors.

The next budget meeting is Monday, Dec. 21 at 3 p.m.

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