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Heritage Society Kicks Off Campaign to Fund Upcoming Move, Renovations

The society recently launched its "Open the Door to History" fundraising campaign to pay for the construction of a handicap-accessible ramp and other related amenities when it moves to the Portage Street building this fall

The is on a mission.

The organization needs to raise $115,000 to make its new location handicap accessible — both inside and out — and cover the cost of the big move coming up in the fall.

Kathy Fernandez, executive director of the heritage society, said the organization is moving from the Charlotte building at 200 Charlotte St. NW, Suite 102, to the nearby Portage building (where is) at 239 Portage St. NW.

But making the new center handicap accessible? Therein lies the challenge.

“The school district offered us rooms in Portage Street building, but the rooms they offered us, although much larger than what we have now, are not handicap accessible, and they are not even very accessible to just the general public,” Fernandez said. “So we decided, with the blessing of the schools, to go and try to create a handicap entrance to the larger of the two rooms, which would be our museum room.”

The handicap entrance would consist of a wheel-chair lift and vestibule leading into the building. And the interior also needs upgraded for handicap accessibility.

The society is seeking grants through several places, such as the Herbert W. Hoover, Timken and Deubel foundations. It already has received a $37,500 check this week from the Hoover Foundation.

But it’s also relying on community members to step up and help out. Anyone who’d like to donate to the “Open the Door to History” fundraising campaign can send a check to the society or stop in and donate in person. Hours of operation are 9 a.m.-noon Monday through Friday.

The society kicked off the “Open the Door to History” campaign at its annual meeting and 40th anniversary celebration Tuesday night.

The heritage society and North Canton YMCA Childcare Center both must move from the Charlotte building as a result of the Unified Elementary Design, or the reconfiguration of the kindergarten and grade schools to accommodate the switch to all-day, every-day kindergarten in the 2012-2013 school year.

The North Canton Heritage Society occupied rooms in the Charlotte building free of charge, thanks to the North Canton City School District. Meanwhile, the heritage society offered some history-related educational services to the district.

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