Taking the Lead

Category: community 94

New Marysville initiative puts community first.

ville1Big things are happening in Marysville. After sitting empty for more than two years, the former Alexander Gibson Memorial School at 241 Canada Street is ready to resume it’s role as an important centre of community activity. Earlier this month, Executive Director Jeff Macfarlane publicly announced the building’s new identity as The Ville, a home for learning, recreation and sustainability.

“We’re trying a holistic approach to health and wellness,” said Macfarlane, “and that involves more than just eating well and sleeping right. It involves everything from exploring our collective culture to facilitating opportunities for the healthy integration of youth and seniors.”

By utilizing the building’s many classrooms, its gymnasium and even the surrounding property, The Ville aims to become a home for diverse community groups and individuals interested in sharing their knowledge, skills and services. A youth drop-in centre is also on The Ville’s agenda and one of several ways Macfarlane believes this project will help strengthen the neighbourhood.

“We need to take a look at the bigger picture,” he said. “We’re trying to create a safe learning environment for all walks of life. It’s about looking after everyone in the community.”

The Ville is currently providing a home to dance, art, sewing and various sports groups with new groups and activities coming onboard each month. And that’s just the beginning. They are also in the process of developing a number of sustainable food initiatives beginning with Aquaponics, Microgreens and Vermiculture projects.

The Ville is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and awareness for a number of exciting ventures planned for the fall.

“There’s going to be a lot of cool initiatives coming and that’s where the Kickstarter campaign comes in huge,” said Macfarlane. “It will provide us with some of the necessities to get some of these programs up and running this September.  The initial campaign was designed to gain some media traction to help put forth our programming right off the bat,” he said. “Our crowd funding campaign will help to acquire funds for our rock climbing wall, to help finish off our edible landscape and acquire some recreation equipment. It would help speed up the process tenfold.”

While Macfarlane and his team have set some ambitious goals for The Ville’s first year, the project stands to be one of the greatest additions to the region in recent years and one that will have a positive influence on the lives of all ages, now and into the future.

“We’ve all heard the saying ‘it takes a community to raise a child’,” said Macfarlane. “That’s the approach we’re trying to take here.”


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