Bob Turner mural organizer hopeful grants pave the way

A bust of Bob Turner on display at the Benson Center on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. The manager of a project to paint a mural celebrating the legacy of Canada's first black recreation director is hopeful some government grants will help with the project. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – While there’s been a slow start to fundraising, the manager of a downtown vibrancy project is very hopeful some government grants will pay off.

Kelly Bergeron is running The experienCity Project (TeP), which includes three ideas on the table: a mural celebrating the legacy of Bob Turner – Canada’s first black municipal recreation director; a crosswalk painting project at Pitt and Second Streets; and a parklet build in the downtown core.

TeP was launched in the beginning of February with a $5,000 goal. As of the end of the month, $256 had been raised.

“I’ve applied for a bunch of grants so I’m hoping that we can fund three projects by the spring,” Bergeron said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch.

“I’m pretty optimistic that we will get the funding because there are specific programs that talk about placemaking and community vibrancy. So, optimistic that we would get the mural done and then the other two pieces continue to fund raise for those,” she said.

“The mural…I’m not too worried about that because we’re going to have the funding,” she said.

Bergeron hopes the crosswalk at Pitt and Second Streets will be done by volunteers during the Art Walk while the parklet will be the biggest expense of the so-called “activations in public spaces.”

She says these projects will bring a “whole new level of vibrancy in the downtown.”

A call for artists for the Bob Turner mural is expected any day now and the process will close at end of the month, when Bergeron also hopes to hear about government funding.

A selection committee still needs to be put together, but Bergeron says she wants Turner advocate Coun. Clause McIntosh involved, as well as a former Turner coworker and some other volunteers who are “in the background….quietly waiting for our next steps.”

She says the community response to this has been “awesome.”

Two of the projects – painting the sidewalks and the parklet – still need city approval.