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Amherstburg gives its OK to building expansion for local museum



A project being undertaken by an area museum has received the OK from the Town of Amherstburg.


The Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum, located on the grounds of Co-An Park in McGregor, is planning on expanding one of its buildings and the space will be used for displays and storage of show equipment.


In a letter sent to the Town of Amherstburg, museum president Gary Struhar stated there is no cost to either Amherstburg or Essex as the project is being funded by the museum itself.


While Co-An Park actually is in Essex, the park is jointly funded by both Amherstburg and Essex.


“In discussion with the Town of Essex, we need a letter from the Town of Amherstburg, supporting the expansion to preserve the history of the 19th and 20th century agricultural era and its equipment,” said Struhar.


In a report to Amherstburg town council, director of parks, facilities and recreation Heidi Baillargeon pointed out the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum has been operating out of Co-An Park since 2008. She stated both Amherstburg and Essex embarked on a park redevelopment process in Nov. 2022 “to capture the needs of residents that live in both the Town of Essex, McGregor and the Town of Amherstburg.”


A second open house is planned for this month.


“In reviewing the plans that have been submitted by the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum working with all parties that have a stake in this park, administration recommends allowing the building expansion as it falls within the operational space as agreed to by the Town of Essex, does not impede future park plans and is in line with the historical use of the park for the cultural benefit to the community,” Baillargeon wrote. “Administration will continue to work with the Town of Essex, the Co-An Park Committee, the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum and the community on the re-development plans for the park and will bring back a fulsome report, design and updated agreements for councils consideration and approval at a future date.”


“It’s definitely good to see the Essex Steam and Gas Engine Museum expanding,” said Councillor Linden Crain.


Crain wanted to know if the Co-An Park committee endorsed the expansion, with Baillargeon stating they have. Baillargeon added administration has been working with the Co-An Park board and Essex on the master plan for the entire site. The second open house is March 26.


Councillor Diane Pouget had it confirmed there is no cost to the Town of Amherstburg. Councillor Don McArthur added the master plan is being worked through so things can get moving, and wanted it clear where the expansion is going and whether no other amenity would be going there.


“We planned for it within the confines of the master plan for the park so it is accounted for in the park plan,” said Baillargeon.

Amherstburg gives its OK to building expansion for local museum

By Ron Giofu

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