After more than a year of delays, contractors have finally installed the historic 120-year-old town bell on a stand in front of the Moose Jaw Events Centre.
Employees with C&S Builders were at the Multiplex during the first two weeks of November, installing the piles to which the stand would be affixed. Contractor Right Choice Energy Services, which fabricated the stand, then installed it.
The bell does have a clapper, but will only be installed when the municipality plans to ring the instrument — which is the plan when the official opening ceremony is held.
“We’re excited that installation of this historic structure is underway,” city hall said by email,” and we are working with the Heritage Committee to finalize a date for an official opening, either later this month or early December.”
The project’s completion is nearly two years in the making after city council approved the then-$20,000 initiative during its 2021 budget discussions in December 2020.
Council later awarded the construction and installation contract to Steady Metalworks in July 2021, but the company could not complete work by fall 2021. So, the parks and recreation department asked council to carry forward the budget into 2022. However, Steady Metalworks informed the department earlier this year that it could not finish the project because it was dissolving.
So, the department worked with the heritage advisory committee on other options and acquired updated budget estimates for the stand. Those estimates showed that the budget should increase to $40,000 — inflation and material costs were the two main factors — while the work should be completed by this fall.
The Town of Moose Jaw purchased the bell in 1902 and erected it behind the town hall on Main Street and River Street. Back then, the bell hung on a 30-foot-tall wooden derrick that officials rang for fires and curfews and to signal that prohibition was in effect.
Seventy years later, the bell was moved to Crescent Park and displayed near the art gallery before it was removed and stored in the city yards in 2010 because of vandalism.
Students from Saskatchewan Polytechnic refurbished the bell in 2018.