$30,000 for Bryson House renovations; more is needed

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Added: Wed, 10/23/2013 - 12:01pm
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Allyson Beauregard

MANSFIELD –  September 24, the MRC Pontiac approved funding for the renovation of the Bryson House, giving $30,000 to the project, with the condition that the municipality of Mansfield contribute at least the same amount for the    project. As a historical building, the Bryson House is eligible to receive a grant that would cover 50% of the eligible renovation costs, which could be more than $600,000 if renovating the entire site, according to Emilie Chazelas, Cultural Agent for the MRC Pontiac.
“The Bryson House Association has been working for the last 2-3 years to find funding to renovate the house,” says Chazelas. The house was built in 1854 by George Bryson, and in 1982, was designated a historical monument by the Ministry of Culture, at the municipality’s request, after the municipality bought and renovated the ruin in the early 1980’s. “30 years later, materials, such as the shingles, are at the end of their life and need to be replaced,” says Chazelas.
As a historical monument, any work to the Bryson House and any materials used must be approved by the Ministry of Culture. “We heard from the Ministry of Culture that we won’t be allowed to use asphalt shingles again; it will have to be either cedar or metal shingles, which will cost much more,” explains Chazelas.
Requests for funding have been made to the Federal Government and other national organizations, but funding has yet to be secured. According to Chazelas, the organizations wish to see more commitment from the municipality to cover part of the    renovation costs, while others requested to see more community support in the form of fund raising,   sponsors, etc. As a result, the Bryson House Association is focusing on a smaller project – the roof on the main house, which is currently in dire need of replacing.
“There is still a lot of work to do to be able to raise the money. As far as I know, the Association is looking for volunteers who will be able to help raise the money or give ideas about how to do it,” explains Chazelas. 
The Bryson House is one of the only historical monuments in the Pontiac that is open to the public. “This project will have an impact on the tourism sector, as well as the cultural sector in the Pontiac,”  concludes Chazelas.