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Local businessman steps up to save funding of Dionne Quints interpretative garden

'Our volunteers planted 100 tulips, donated by the Rotary Club'

It's part of what makes North Bay such a great city, volunteers stepping forward to make sure things get done.

That's the "story behind the story" of the funding for the Dionne Quints Heritage Board interpretative gardens.

The Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries provided a $20,000 grant to complete the interlocking walkway for the Dionne Quints Museum but there's a catch.

It's routine that governments give grants to organizations, but insist that the money be raised first, then the grant is given as a reimbursement.

So you have to have the cash to get cash.

"We didn't have those kinds of funds in our bank," Ed Valenti, President of the Dionne Quints Heritage Board told BayToday. "So were tried different avenues to try and borrow money. We were going to go to the City but it looked like it would take too long to get the funds." 

It looked bleak, but Valenti was able to twist the arm of a private citizen to put up the money...Frank, his brother.

"I was complaining because we didn't have the money to make it work to get the money from the government. We were just going out to get a bite to eat."

"How much do you need? Frank asked.

"Twenty grand," replied Ed.

"Well, I'll loan it to you," offered Frank, who is part-owner of Designed Roofing in North Bay.

"We got our 20 thousand from him and so now we're sending all our bills off to the government to get reimbursed and repay the loan."

So the latest phase of the home is now complete. 

The inner circle of the garden was excavated, and replaced with 18 inches of topsoil.

"Our volunteers planted 100 tulips, donated by the Rotary Club," said Valenti,  "In the spring, the Board intends to continue on the inner circle, adding perennials, sponsor plaques, and display panels. A spotlight has been added, along with power lines for other future uses."

The next step is putting in the shrubbery.

"We couldn't get the shrubbery in this year because of the weather and funds, so we are going to do a fundraiser to buy shrubs and we also want to put up some benches."

Someone has already reached out to Valenti wanting to know how to buy one for the site.

"I'm sure we'll improve the grounds as we go along, but that will finish up the third and final phase."