“It’s going to have to come from a lot of sources,” said Deb Honch, president of the Prince Albert Historical Society.
“Of course, the city owns the building, so they have it in their plans to do some work,” Honch continued. “We actually had an engineer study done on the property last year, so there is some basic work that will be included in the budgeting of property through the city.”
In addition, the Historical Society will be counting on funding from the provincial and federal governments.
Honch said she hopes the project will get underway in the spring, pending council’s approval of a funding request in the 2013 budget.
“There was money set aside last year to do this work, but because the engineer’s report came back so late, it just didn’t happen,” she said. “They (the department of community services) had indicated that that work would go ahead this spring … It was in last year’s budget, but they just couldn’t get to it.”
Honch suspects $300,000 to $400,000 will be needed to complete the renovations.
A report outlining the Historical Society’s spending in 2012 and long-term planning was submitted to council in December.
Last year, the city set aside around $70,000 for structural repairs to the house, though the funding was used for other projects. Mayor Greg Dionne said the amount will be evaluated once again in the budget.
“In his budget report, (director of community services Greg Zeeben) has put money requests for doing the foundation,” he said, noting that Zeeben would be back to work on Monday.
The Historical Society has plans to not only fix the structural problems in the house but to hopefully add a reception area, which will be able to house an audiovisual component, according to Historical Society curator Michelle Taylor.
“The house is not built to be a museum, so you can only take in about 15-20 people in comfortably,” she said. “Half of a class would stay in the other building and the other half would be touring the museum, but through all of that, they would be learning about Mr. Diefenbaker and his life."
“In of course going through the process of improving the structure of the building, we’d also like to include work to improve the actual displays and presentation of the museum as well,” Honch added.
Canada’s 13th Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker put a $2,000 deposit on the double lot that included the two-storey house on Aug. 2, 1947. He signed the building’s title over to the city in 1975.
-With files from Tyler Clarke