Essex – The efforts to restore the John R. Park Homestead received a giant boost today, as the Toldo Foundation donated $100,000 toward the effort.
“The John R. Park Homestead is a unique site which, aligned with the Toldo Foundation values, greatly enriches our community through heritage preservation, education, tourism and more,” said Alex Toldo, Trustee. “The Toldo Foundation is proud to support the Essex Region Conservation Foundation in protecting the Homestead so it may continue to serve and improve the community for generations to come.”
“The John R. Park Homestead has been welcoming visitors as a museum and conservation area since 1978,” explained Tim Byrne, Executive Director of the Conservation Foundation and CAO of ERCA. “This unique 19-acre property with eleven outbuildings on the shore of Lake Erie in Essex is used extensively to provide experiential, curriculum-connected outdoor STEAM education programs for students; it attracts tourists to our area, and it preserves and interprets the history of our region for nearly 20,000 visitors annually.”
A comprehensive architectural review has identified that more than $1.4 million dollars in structural repair work, foundation works, roof repairs, window and door replacements, waterproofing and more needs to be undertaken to ensure the sustainability of the precious original buildings of John and Amelia Park. These nearly 200-year-old buildings require extensive restoration work to ensure that they will be maintained for generations to come.
While the connection to Lake Erie is one of the most extraordinary experiences at the Homestead, it also exposes the historic buildings to its wicked storms, leading to deterioration of these precious pieces of our shared history. To date, $500,000 has been allocated from reserve funds, and nearly $100,000 has been raised through donations, in addition to the generous gift from the Toldo Foundation.
“The significance of this leadership donation from the Toldo Foundation’s cannot be overstated,” said Brian Parent, Vice President of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation. “The historic home is the most precious artifact in the Homestead’s collection and is the cornerstone of our education programs that engage thousands of students each year. This generous gift from the Toldo Foundation will allow us to move forward with implementing the critical structural work needed to ensure its long-term sustainability.” Construction is scheduled to begin later this month.
Founded in 1996 by Anthony P. Toldo, the Toldo Foundation is dedicated to community giving and the support of causes that improve the well-being of our regional community. In 2021, the Toldo Foundation generously created The Toldo Foundation Outdoor Classroom and Wildlife Viewing Area at the Homestead’s new Conservation Centre.
For more than 40 years, the Essex Region Conservation Foundation has been raising funds to enrich our region as the Place for Life.