Wabash Building Society’s piece-by-piece path toward transforming Sorauren Park has reached another milestone.
The transformation of the once-barren industrial lands, located off Wabash Avenue in Roncevalles Village, began with the development of the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse, which opened May 2008.
The second piece of the transformation is the Sorauren Park Town Square project, for which fundraising is currently underway.
This phase of the Wabash Building Society’s plans will turn vacant industrial land between the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse and the old linseed factory into an animated space complete with pizza/bake oven, trees, gardens, picnic areas, benches, and a stage.
Fundraising for the project surpassed its initial $40,000 goal and now sits at $50,000 raised. With a matching funds grant from Livegreen Toronto, every dollar in the community campaign is doubled, meaning total funds raised to date sit at about $100,000.
Because of the success so far, the Wabash Building Society has increased it’s fundraising goal for the community campaign to $75,000 by May 2013.
The entire Town Square is estimated to cost $600,000, with the Wabash Building Society committed to raising half through various fundraising campaigns and grant requests. The City of Toronto will pitch in the other half.
“The community support keeps the board energized and keeps the momentum going,” explained Doug Bennet, volunteer chair of the Wabash building Society.
Money has been raised through a “purchase a paver” campaign as well as activities including a pumpkin sale and an art sale.
The campaign, Bennet said, is seeing a lot of people who donated to build the Sorauren Park Fieldhouse also contributing to the Town Square in addition to a number of newcomers to the neighbourhood.
“There has been a lot of turnover in the community since 2008. There are a lot of newcomers and young families who are helping to complete the park because everyone is going to benefit from it over the years,” Bennet said.
Metrolinx made a donation of $1,000 for bike racks and quite a few businesses on Roncesvalles have made generous donations, Bennet explained.
“I was in West Side Cycle the other day getting my bike fixed and William (Martinen), the owner, asked how much it was for a business donation to get their name on a paver,” Bennet explained. “I said, ‘$250,’ and he reached into his till, grabbed $250 and gave it to me on the spot.”
In an amazing act of generosity, Bennet said, more than $20,000 came from a single donor, local real estate agent Chander Chaddah.
“Chander Chaddah, our great benefactor, who is celebrating his 25th anniversary as a real estate agent made the very generous donation to our campaign,” said Bennet. “Chander is one of our board members as well, and all of our board members have contributed, but Chander has gone above and beyond to thank the community for all of the business he has had over the past 25 years.”
In a second arm of fundraising efforts, aimed at securing corporate donations, Bennet said the Building Society hopes to raise $50,000 or more through philanthropic opportunities like the Molson Coors Community Cheer program.
“It is one of these new breed of corporate philanthropy that mixes an America Idol sort of contest and social media with online voting,” Bennet explained.
Construction on the Town Square is planned for 2013.
Following that, the final phase of the Wabash Building Society plans will be the development of the Wabash Community Centre, currently in the City’s capital plan for 2018.
For more on the campaign visit http://wabashbuildingsociety.wordpress.com