The Society

Africville memorial design complete
November 30, 2010

The chair of the Africville Heritage Trust in Halifax says design plans for a memorial to the bulldozed community are ready.

"We've done an awful lot of work getting preparations, getting things organized. You can't build something as significant as this overnight," said Doreen Lewis.

Africville was a black community that stood along the Bedford Basin for more than a century before it was razed to make room for a bridge in the 1960s.

Halifax mayor Peter Kelly formally apologized to former residents and their descendants in February and announced a settlement of about $5 million — $3 million from the city, $1.5 million from the province and $250,000 from the federal government.

One hectare of land was also included in the agreement, along with a commitment to rebuild the Seaview United Baptist Church on the site. It will be used as an historical interpretative centre.

Seaview Park will be renamed Africville, but will still be owned by HRM.

Last week, the city of Halifax announced that $2.5 million for construction of the memorial had been transferred to the Africville Heritage Trust.

Lewis said Monday that the outside of the building will look like the Seaview United Baptist Church and on the inside, it will operate as a museum.

"In all fairness, we've got to take this to the community first, early in the new year," she told CBC News.

Lewis said site preparation work, as well as the installation of water and sewage systems, is expected to begin in the spring.

"The building has been designed, we've looked at what we want for exhibits, even the materials that are going to be used in the exhibits. We've been doing a lot of work on the programming so all those packages are just about ready to go now," she said.



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