EMBRUN – Russell Township councillors are partnering with their community and community organizations to help make Russell’s 125th anniversary celebration a special one.

Russell resident Dave Dyer had made a presentation at the council’s March 13 meeting on behalf of Community Activities and Russell Beautification toward the 125th anniversary of the Village of Russell.

He had a list of anniversary projects that would be funded in part by the township, community funding and the Russell Police Village Trust.

The township’s portion of the total of $66,250 worth of anniversary projects will be $26,125. The funds are coming from the municipality’s matching fund reserve.

The Russell Police Village Trust will be coming up with $27,225 and community contributions are expected to be another $12,900.

“A big chunk of it is coming from the Russell Police Village Trust, and we will do matching funds with them, and the community together. It is the community, Russell Police Village Trust and township working together,” said Russell Mayor Pierre Leroux.

“From my perspective anytime the municipality, and different organizations in the community come together, it’s always a no–brainer in my mind that we become an active participant,” said the mayor.

The plans for the 125th celebration have been in the works for quite some time.

In early January 2023, a number of community members, the Russell Police

Village Trust and council representatives came together to look at ways to celebrate the anniversary.

An anniversary steering committee was created featuring six Russell residents. The committee’s job was to provide some direction and promotion for the anniversary.

After the presentation to council, township staff met with Mr. Dyer to work out a plan of action and a financial strategy to assist the community in the many projects associated with the celebrations.

The first project is historical hanging signs and planters in the village core. “Hanging signs would be added to period lamp posts in the village core. Fifteen hanging signs featuring the wording “Village of / de Russell 1898” would be

designed and placed along Concession Street, between Church Street and the Russell Fairgrounds, the signs would be complimented by “Keep Russell Blooming” planters, currently a fixture in the village core. In addition, planters and “Village of / de Russell 1898” signs would be placed at the entrances to the newer subdivisions. Decorative cross arms would support both planters and anniversary signs.”

A second project was “Village Street Blades” which feature 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.

According to the committee, “Thirty-four (34) units would be placed at 10 intersections along Concession Street between Church and the entrance to Russell Trails.”

The idea is already established as a beautification feature of the village’s downtown core, the Russell Village Women’s Institute plans to extend their existing 22-year-old “Keep Russell Blooming” program to reach into the entrance area of some of Russell’s newer subdivisions.

This program would complement the new “Russell Hanging Sign” cross arms on existing period lamp poles.

The Women’s Institute is hoping to replace the existing cement ground-level planters with more modern planters already located in the core area. They have also proposed to maintain and support the planters and vegetation adjacent to the township’s Parklet in Russell in conjunction with their very successful maintenance program. The township’s infrastructure department confirmed that four new cement planters have been ordered for this upcoming summer season. The cost of these planters was included in the 2023 operational budget of the department.

“Meet Me on Main Street” is a fourth project.

In July 2022, the Township of Russell partnered with the Township of North Dundas for the “Meet Me on Main Street” event held in Marionville.

Because of the event’s success, it has also been planned for Russell or Embrun.

The committee suggested the “Meet Me on Main Street” event be held in conjunction with the anniversary celebrations.

A final project from the committee is the 125th MacDougall Park renewal project.

The committee’s presentation stated: “In July 1940, a community park and cairn were dedicated in honour of Dr. Dugald MacDougall. The 125th MacDougall Park renewal project follows in a line of projects undertaken to enhance the western entrance to the Village of Russell. The proposed work entails landscape lighting of the stone bridge and park signs, a display of festival lights to mark the coming of the Christmas season, electrical outlets to support special events and a rededication of the Cairn.