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The Belleville Club looks forward to upcoming facelift

Dr. Robert Burns, the Belleville Club's longest serving member with a membership of 45 consecutive years. [1]

Dr. Robert Burns, the Belleville Club’s longest serving member with a membership of 45 consecutive years. Photo by Alana Pickrell.

By Alana Pickrell [2]

BELLEVILLE – The Belleville Club – the city’s last private club – is preparing for an exterior facelift to its historical home which is expected to start early October.

The $15,000 grant for the restoration was approved on Monday at city council [3] and will be used for masonry work on the east side of the historical building to make sure the structure is secure. The entire project is expected to take approximately 2 to 3 weeks, according to current manager Tara VanDijk.

“It will really improve the look of the building as well. We’re pretty excited about that,” said VanDijk, the club’s first female manager.

The city’s facade improvement committee, which includes several members from the Belleville Club, recommended council approve the grant.

Earlier this year, the club received another grant from city council which went towards improving the south side of the building.

After the renovation in October is complete, the entire exterior of the historic building will be secure and updated.

Members said they are excited for the upcoming renovations.

Currently, there are approximately 250 local members who take advantage of the club as their “home away from home,” said VanDijk.

Dr. Robert Burns, 68, is the longest serving member, holding a membership for 45 years. He said he has been attending the club essentially his entire life. He was first introduced to the club through his father and he admits that his involvement there as a child is what encouraged him to have a membership in his adult years.

As a long-term member, Dr. Burns said his favourite memories at the Belleville Club are the ones that include his family, especially when he was able to rent the club for his daughter’s 14th birthday party. Dr. Burns said it was “like being able to rent a mansion for the night.”

For decades, 210 Pinnacle St. has provided a place for people both in the community and non-local members to call home.

David Somers, a local member, claims that the Belleville club is “the anchor of our community.”

Currently the Belleville Club hosts several musical events, open mic nights and a variety of other events that are open to both the public and members. Tickets are available online at Southside Productions [4].

“I want to see it as a place where the community can come together,” says VanDijk.

Both VanDijk and Dr. Burns said they’re committed to keeping the club alive. Their goal is to make the upcoming generation feel as comfortable there as possible in order to keep the doors open for decades to come.