Russell is looking at other projects for ideas to help them celebrate 125 years.

EMBRUN – This year marks the 125th anniversary of The Police Village of Russell, that joined the United Counties of Prescott and Russell in 1898.

The plans to celebrate the anniversary have been in the works for a while, and the March 13 Russell Township meeting featured a presentation by Dave Dyer asking for funding for community activities and Russell beautification plans.

Interested Russell individuals, council members, organizations and the Police Village Trust got together in January 2023 to discuss ways to celebrate the anniversary.

Dyers’ presentation stated: “Out of the 16 that attended the first meeting, a steering committee of six was established to provide direction and promote Russell’s 125th celebration. Observers from the Police Village of Russell Trust and Russell Township were also invited to attend Steering Committee discussions. It is expected that in some instances, the committee would develop and implement programs for the general awareness and beautification of the community. In other instances, individuals and organizations would integrate the 125 messaging into their existing programs throughout the year.”

In the early 1990s, thanks to a program of provincial upgrades to downtown Russell took place. Russell residents were able to see new period lamp posts in their neighbourhood, interlocking brick in several areas and commemorative plaques.

“The Russell 125 Beautification Program was a theme that evolved during the first 125 celebration meetings,” said Dyer.

“The Steering Committee for Russell 125 is pleased to present the following projects targeted at reinvigorating village streetscapes while complimenting the existing elements of the Russell Pride program of the 1990s.”

The first project is putting up historical hanging signs and planters in the village core, “In 2007 the Village of Kemptville celebrated its 150th Anniversary. Hanging planters and plaques were added to period lamp posts in the village core. A similar project is proposed under the Russell 125 Beautification Program.”

The committee is proposing 15 long-lasting hanging signs featuring the wording “Village of/du Russell 1898” and would be designed using a similar concept to the Kemptville project.

The hanging signs would be placed along Concession Street, between Church and the Fair grounds, the signs would be complimented by “Keep Russell Booming” planters currently a fixture in the Village Core. “In addition, planters and ‘Village of/du Russell 1898’ signs would be placed at the entrances to the newer subdivisions.”

The second project is Village Street Blades. “The Village of Winchester is noted for its custom street blades strategically located along Main and St. Lawrence streets in the Village core. Similarly the City of Edmonton offered Decorative Street Blades to interested community groups as part of an overall Neighbourhood Renewal Plan. Street blades can contain a community logo, street name in historic font and the year the neighbourhood / Village was established.”

The presentation stated: “Featuring a two-tone facia with the village crest and 1898 brand, each customized blade in Russell would bring history to life by featuring the Russell Red Brick and contrasting colour in a unique design. Thirty (34) units would be placed at 10 intersections along Concession St. between Church and the entrance to Russell Trails. Further coverage would be encouraged for Craig St. to Forced Rd, Mill & Parallel St. and Bank & Church St.”

A third project is a Village of Russell Story Mural.

The mural would be designed along the lines of many community murals in Eastern Ontario, the Russell Story Mural would feature notable scenes, landscapes and activities that have dotted our past and present according to the presentation.

“The Mural would form the focal point to the Village of Russell 125 Beautification project. The preferred location is currently under negotiation with the building owner.

Other celebration projects are: Keep Russell Blooming, Meet me on Main Street “The opportunity of establishing a Russell based Meet Me on Main Street has tremendous potential,” said Dyer.

The MacDougall Park Renewal Plan is another project the committee has looked at.

The potential donation breakdown has the township donating $19,390, the Russell Village Trust donating $19,390, community contributions $22,300  for a total of $61,080.

The response from the Russell Township council hinted that 2023 budget deliberations may have already taken any donation into account that would fit in with what the committee is asking for.