PLEASE SOCIAL DISTANCE AND WEAR FACE MASKS TO PROTECT EVERYONE!
Fundraising for Rockport Customs Park and community events have taken a COVID hit but thanks to willing cooks of Eric and Cathy and the RDG Elves we have found a way forward. Usually we are decorating the Rockport Gate and the Park and getting ready for carols and community gathering about now.
There will be a combined event this Dec. 4th. The lights will go on, music will be playing and RDG will be cooking up a Pasta Dinner for takeout at the Rockport Rec Hall.
Rockport comes alive for Christmas and supports our Rockport Customs Park. Hope springs eternal in Rockport.
Published on: November 16, 2020 | Last Updated: November 16, 2020 4:21 PM EST
The Retired Teachers on Ontario presented a cheque to the Friends of Rockport Customs on November 12. Through their “Project – Service to Others” program they provide grants of different sizes to districts that support that concept.
“The intent is to raise the profile of retired teachers by visibly demonstrating to active teachers and to the public-at-large that retired teachers care about their communities and about public education, and are willing to do something to help those who need assistance,” according to the Retired Teachers on Ontario website.
“Our grant came from Project Service to Others District 48 – Leeds and Grenville Retired Teachers on Ontario,” Dianne Phillips, Friends of Rockport Customs secretary, said. “We were thrilled to be approved for these grant dollars. We received $500 from the group. District 48 recognized that during these times of COVID it is very difficult for non-profit organizations to do any fundraising and yet realized that work by such groups is still continuing.”
The Rockport Customs Restoration project has been underway for more than 11 years, with fundraising and actual physical work on the customs house and dock kicking off in April 2018. Since then, Friends of Rockport Customs has done massive amounts of work on the building itself and has nearly completed work on the dock. They are now looking at finishing touches, getting those last bits done before it is truly ready for public use.
Although the project is not yet complete, it is now at a useable point, and Friends of Rockport Customs is ready to share it with the public. Plans have been modified, extra funds are being raised, and the final project is to include some shade trees, benches, and a small grassed area in addition to the old customs house and dock. Two benches have been pledged for donation by descendants of the original customs house staff.
Originally the customs facility for Rockport, the old station had fallen into disrepair. The building and docks were crumbling and overgrown, and their heritage was nearly forgotten. But the people of Rockport don’t forget. They had local historian Brian Phillips help them create and install murals throughout the village, and one of them was placed on the customs house.
Every aspect of the job has been paid in full as it was done, making sure that no extra burdens of debt need to be carried. Whether siding or surfacing, everything has been carefully purchased and installed as funds became available. This latest donation will be treated the same way, going to a specific aspect of the project.
“The money will be used for property beautification at the Rockport Customs Park,” said Phillips. “We will be purchasing attractive, sturdy flower boxes to be strategically placed throughout the park. We were able to buy two flower boxes last year from money received from the “project service to others” grant and with these new funds we will be able to purchase three or maybe four more. Flowers add so much to the overall appearance of the park property. They are the ‘icing on the cake.’”
Later, other parts of the project will be completed as more funds are raised.
“We require sail shades to offer some protection from the sun and hope to have those in place by next spring,” she said. “Thorough research is going into investigating possible resurfacing options that are affordable, long-lasting, and meet engineering standards. Also, a floating dock still needs to be purchased for easier access in and out of boats.”
Friends of Rockport Customs is grateful for this donation and members are looking forward to completing the project and making it all available to the public.
FORC will be holding their AGM on Thursday Oct. 15th at 4pm on ZOOM
3rd Annual General Meeting
Friends of Rockport Customs Restoration Society
Date & Time: Thursday Oct. 15, 2020 4:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom – book to attend
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book to be invited to zoom
•Introduction of Board Members
•Project Update \ Status & Plans
•Open to Questions
Another major addition to Rockport Customs Park: The NEW interpretive sign depicting the long history has been installed this week. Special thanks to Brian Phillips for the design, RDG for donating the sign, and Chris Newman's crew for installing the sign. Stop by and check it out. Another major addition to Rockport Customs Park: The NEW interpretive sign depicting the long history has been installed this week. Special thanks to Brian Phillips for the design, RDG for donating the sign, and Chris Newman's crew for installing the sign. Stop by and check it out.
Welcome to The Rockport Customs Park. This is your community park and the Board of FORC invites folks to enjoy the river and the village from this splendid location.
We were unable to open the building this summer but remain hopeful we will be able to resume with ambassadors at the park next Spring and able to share the beautiful building and some history and information in the Spring of 2021. If you haven’t seen the new interpretive sign at the east edge of the parking lot check it out. It provides the history of this special location.
We have resumed fundraising as there is still much to do, such as providing shade, providing a floating dock to adjust with water levels and facilitate the launching of kayaks as well as resurfacing the surface which will include the parking lot.
We will not be holding any public gatherings or those wonderful dinners but we will be contacting people and looking at how we can reach out more online and through email.
The park was so well used over the summer months with boaters and land lovers alike. The new benches, planters and picnic tables were so welcoming and very well enjoyed. We hope to see much activity there this fall as well.
If you wish to make a contribution we would welcome your support!
Cheques can be mailed to:
Friends of Rockport Customs
c/o Wendy Merkley
33 Front St.
OR dropped off at Andress Boat Works (next door to the park)
If you have suggestions of non-contact fundraising opportunities please let us know.
In these difficult times of social distancing and staying home we hope this Rockport Park can provide people a change of venue and an opportunity to enjoy the beauty we have right here in the village of Rockport.
Published on: March 10, 2020 | Last Updated: March 10, 2020 2:21 PM EDT
Under beautiful sunny skies, the Friends of Rockport Customs accepted a donation in the amount of $3,000 from the Gananoque Kinsmen Club for work on the restoration of the Rockport Customs Dock.
“The Kinsmen have donated this money to provide three small round tables under sunshades for the Dock,” Wendy Merkley, of Friends of Rockport Customs, said. “We will be putting a plaque on each table stating that they were donated by the Kinsmen Club.”
The Kinsmen selected the project through a love of supporting local charities and projects that help and enhance the community. They support Food Banks, clothing projects, and other necessary programs in the community, and the Customs Dock looked like a perfect fit. It is becoming more of a public park every day as well as a historic site, allowing people in Rockport to continue to enjoy their waterfront at all times of the year.
“Right now we’re at $501 thousand,” Merkley said. “We have about $120 thousand left to go. Resurfacing and a planned floating dock are the big ticket items. But everything that is at the Customs House now is fully paid for.
“We have a fundraiser coming up on May 2 at the Rockport Recreation Hall. The Rockport Development Group is putting on a Bavarian Dinner with schnitzel cooked by our popular chef, Eric Seigwart. He and his wife are RDG members, and they always provide wonderful food for us.”
Tickets will be limited and go on sale soon.
To learn more, contact Merkley at email@example.com.
We are trying to reach our goal to finish and rejuvenate the area for public usage!
Welcome to The Rockport Customs Park, which is now available for Public use after a short closure due to COVID-19. This is your community park and the Board of FORC hopes folks will use the park to enjoy the river and the village.