Today is my day off, and sometimes on my day off, my mind wanders to places it doesn’t have time to when I am busy as the pastor of LaFontaine UMC. In its wandering, it ended up thinking about the old elementary school building. Now I don’t know about the structure or maintenance cost of the building. In fact, I have never been in it. I have heard through the grapevine that part of it needs to be torn down, but the other part is could be used for something. And I have heard many people dreaming about what that part could be used for. So here are my two cents of what I think would be cool.
I think it would be really neat to make the structurally sound part into a mini-mall of sorts. Almost all the businesses of LaFontaine are owned locally, and I sense there are many other entrepreneurs among us that just don’t have the capital to get started. But what if we as a community bought that building, removed the nonfunctional part, and rented out the rooms for small local start-ups? These are the businesses I would be excited about:
A small coffee shop with baked goods and comfortable seating (think Modocs with more bakery items)
A “Garage Sale” Room that could charge a nominal fee for renting
A consignment shop with clothing
An after school and e-learning day room with wi-fi for doing homework
A community garden to share fresh produce with our community
A “kids room” with simple toys for a place to go on rainy days to get out of the house
We could have a “HELP” board and a “I CAN HELP” board so that we can be good neighbors to each other.
A small babysitting service
An exercise room
What would it take to make something like this happen? Well, it would take a leader. I am not that leader. But I believe that leader is among us. It would take organizing as a group. If we were serious about it, we could see about getting volunteers knowledgeable about the do’s and don’ts of starting your own business to provide support for new entrepreneurs. It would be really neat to have some grants available for helping with overhead that first year. Most of all, we would need to raise the funds to get the building in working order…removing the dangerous part, and cleaning up the rest.
So I’m just putting the idea out there. Feel free to discuss on our LaFontaine Facebook Page what you would like to see in a “community mall,” to say whether you think we could make this happen, or if you would like to head up or be on a team to make this happen. You may just want to put up your dream of the business you would like to start.