Last July, the old Appleyard residence plotted its way along Port Moody streets under the cover of darkness to its resting place on Kyle Street. The house is now set to get new life, thanks to an infusion of cash from Ottawa.
Over the weekend, Heritage Minister James Moore announced the federal government had approved two grants over two years for up to $500,000 to the Port Moody Arts Centre Society.
Of that total, a $480,000 matching grant is going toward the renovation and development of an arts centre in the old Centennial House/ Appleyard residence through a heritage fund, while the other $20,000 is for the Port Moody Festival of the Arts.
The city applied for the grant back in September, but not without causing a bit of a stir among city council. Some councillors were concerned the project's price tag could hit nearly $1 million if the city's matching dollars are included.
There was also a suggestion the 10-year operating grant with the application would cost the city $83,000 per year starting in 2014, for a total of $839,000 for the life of the commitment.
But now with the money in hand, Mayor Mike Clay said the city is just starting the process of figuring out what the new centre would look like.
"We're going to sit down and go over the plans with the arts centre to see how we can best deliver for the residents to give them the value they want for their tax dollars and the services they're trying to deliver at the arts centre," he told The NOW.
"We're going to do something. It's just a matter of to what scale."
Part of those discussions will involve decid-ng what to do with the home's basement.
Clay suggested the space needs to be flexible to meet the entire community's needs.
Though the grant is for arts-related improvements, he noted the city is also looking for extra office space.
"If we needed office space or building space that we don't currently have, then this is an opportunity to jump on with this project and to incorporate that as well," he said.
So far, the city has approved $330,000 from its heritage fund for the project, including $157,000 to move the house to its current location at 126 Kyle St. Clay said he doubts council has any intention of matching the federal dollars all the way up to $480,000.
As for a timeline for the project, he also said he'd like to see some of the plans for the house included in this year's budget discussions.
Last May, the provincial government agreed to give the heritage house back to the City of Port Moody, which in turn agreed to move the house to make way for the construction of the Evergreen Line.