The fruits of years of fundraising, hard work, banging on doors and grant applications were realized Saturday evening when the doors of the new Munson Community Hall were flung open to the community.
Members of the community, volunteers, politicians and special guests gathered at the site of the new hall as the ribbon was cut, signalling the completion of the project. Becky Kowalchuk, of the project committee, led the program on Saturday.
She explains that about six years ago, a member of the community made a donation to the new hall, and this signalled as a starting point to get the hall project rolling. They were able to bring on partners including the Village of Munson, Starland County and the Alberta Government. A great moral and financial boost came when, on their second attempt, The UFA Get and Give Grant program awarded the Hall $50,000.
“I knew in my heart, that $50,000 from UFA was exactly what we needed to push the project forward,” said Kowalchuk.
Last August a shovel went into the ground.
Kowalchuk said organizers were adamant that they use local contractors to support the local community. Greene Construction took the lead and others to contribute included Scott McKay Electrical, TKNT Mechanical, Hi-Lite Interior and Country Kitchens.
“These are the same people who attend those suppers, those dances, helped us with casino nights, they supported us every way they possibly could, I knew they believed in this project and that a new hall for Munson was a good idea,” said Kowalchuk.
Of course, there was quite a bit of sweat equity from volunteers who did their part, including the crew of Dave Daly and Bill Kowalchuk, which at times appeared to be powered by Brownie cookies.
“People donated their time and lots of it. A building like this does not get built without time and dedication of volunteers. We may not have had a big committee, but those who were involved were extremely dedicated,” said Kowalchuk.
“You came, you gave, you worked…lots. I could rally the troops to move heavy objects, paint or clean whenever we needed it, in short order.”
Reeve Barrie Hoover of Starland County congratulated the community on its project.
“The construction of the hall represents an ongoing partnership between Munson and the County of Starland. The County contributed $230,000 of our MSI funding,” he said, adding the county assisted with construction and will also be removing the old hall and helping with landscaping. “The county is a sizable partner and we are proud to get this completed. We know how important it is to bring people together.”