A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Napanee, Ont. on Thursday morning for a new development on the site of the old Gibbard Furniture Factory.
There, developers are trying to breathe new life into the prime downtown site. However, not even the snowy weather could stop a good crowd from showing up to witness downtown Napanee history in the making.
Marg Isbester is Napanee’s Mayor.
“Today, we, as a group, kick off an exciting project within our community,” Isbester announced. “A project that acknowledges the rich history of the Gibbard Factory that is embedded in Greater Napanee.”
The revitalization of the property will includes two condominium towers, retail shops and restaurants, as well as a large civic square. Hank Doornekamp is the head of Doornekamp Construction.
“I think it’s going to really liven up the downtown again,” Doornekamp said. “That’s really what’s missing in Napanee.
Doornekamp Construction and Silvercreek Communities are behind the residential development — a project that will see the Gibbard legacy continue as new life will be breathed into the old mill and smokestack, as well as the showroom.
Doornekamp says he has a real soft spot for heritage.
“I grew up two blocks away from here, I walked by this factory every morning to school. I knew the McPherson family, I knew all the people that worked at Gibbards — not all the people, but I knew a lot of people,” he said.
“And there’s such a history and heritage here that I don’t think we want to ignore that.”
Mayor Isbester wrapped up her remarks by thanking those on hand for having confidence in the community and looking forward to a long and beneficial relationship. Officials with Doornekamp Construction say the complex should be complete by mid 2022.