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WCS seeking $25K from Woolwich to boost building fund

Add $25,000 to the list of grant requests to be considered by township council, as Woolwich Community Services is looking for support of its building fund. The catch-all social services agency serving Woolwich and Wellesley plans to build a new home in Elmira, and is seeking $1 million in donations to do so.

Appearing before council November 4, fundraising chair Sandy Shantz said WCS has now collected about $900,000. With the project expected to cost $1.35 million, every dollar collected past the million-dollar goal will reduce the amount of borrowing, allowing future donations to go directly into the agency’s main priorities: programs and services.

WCS has been operating from cramped quarters on Arthur Street in Elmira since 1984. With the sale of the former township hall, including the land where the agency’s building sits, the search for a new site ended up at the corner of Church Street and Memorial Avenue, a long-vacant property once home to Procast Foundries.

The new building will be much more spacious than the 900 square feet (plus small basement) at 73 Athur St. S. At 7,500-sq.ft., the new facility will incorporate a larger reception area, private offices, a larger food bank area, a community room, public workspace, and WCS’ thrift shop, currently located in a rental space elsewhere in downtown Elmira.

Working with MennoHomes, the site will also accommodate a future three-storey residential building offering 24 apartment units for singles, seniors, and families. In addition, the property will feature substantial parking space.

WCS hopes to have the fundraising complete by Christmas, allowing construction to begin in the spring, with occupancy next fall.

WCS’ services, which impact an estimated 20 per cent of Woolwich Township annually, include clothing swaps, a backpack donation program, Christmas and Thanksgiving initiatives, employment services, a family violence prevention program, and a food bank.

Following Shantz’s presentation, councillors agreed to add the request to the upcoming deliberations over the 2014 budget.

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