It’s going to cost upward of $50,000 to keep going on the restoration of the historical Niagara Baptist Church Burial Ground in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
George Webber, head of the Friends of the Forgotten committee, told council during a Tuesday morning meeting about the cost for the next two stages of this project.
This would include stage two and stage three archeological assessments on the site, also known as the Negro Burial Ground.
“We are unable to do it until the money is in the bank,” Webber said, adding the fundraising needs to be done quickly.
“We can’t afford to spend two to three months raising the money because that puts the project two to three months behind schedule,” he said.
“We need to be able to get out there as quickly as possible, and with your support, with your guidance (and) direction to be able to start the process,” he added.
Webber said the first stage of archeological assessment confirmed what was likely known before.
“The site that we’re talking about has tremendous historical, cultural, archeological significance to our community, province and likely the country,” said Webber.
It is where the members of the former Niagara Baptist Church, formed in the 1800s, were buried. Some of the church’s parishioners were among the earliest members of Niagara’s Black community.
He outlined a preliminary fundraising strategy for the town.
In it, he identified five groups they could look to for potential support: universities and colleges, foundations, businesses, residents and service organizations.
He said they’re off to a great start, with a donation of $5,000 from the Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club.
He encouraged council to spread the word and talk openly about what’s being done at the burial ground, noting it’s going to be a “long-term project.”
People can donate to support the restoration at Friendsoftheforgotten.ca.