The Former Herda's True Value Hardware Store in St. Martins
With last week's Economic Development Commission meeting canceled due to lack of a quorum (mass illness), I was able to attend and listen in on an organizational meeting of a group called Franklin Citizens for Community Development (formerly known as "Franklin First"), a project organized by blogger Greg Kowalski and James Mullarkey (a Franklin Community Development Authority Commissioner). I wanted to get a sense of their intent.
I listened as they discussed possible mission statements. At first, I heard a lot of "we need a water park," "we need a performing arts center," "why aren't we Mequon?" "high-end amenities!" etc.
I brought with me a picture of the empty hardware store down in St. Martins, which is a beautiful building, and reminded them that the city has some good "bones" to build on; their organization would do well, in other words, to exploit current assets before crying out for more new construction. This seemed to be enthusiastically received.
I also introduced the term "sustainable" to their discussion. One look at the city's budget will tell you that the current way of doing things is not going to work for much longer. Perhaps Citizens for Community Development could use their energy and voices to promote the small steps that are needed in order to create a more economically vibrant city. For instance, promoting small businesses in town is an excellent way to enrich the local economy: For every dollar spent at a local business, 45% is reinvested locally. Spent a dollar at a corporate chain and a mere 15% is reinvested locally.
(We will hopefully be talking more, by the way, about the building above on this blog in the near future.)
Meanwhile, Kowalski's Franklin Today blog reports a rumor that the now-vacant Sentry store on 76th and Rawson may be purchased by neighboring Walgreens, and - amazingly - razed to make room for a drive-thru window.
That's right: Torn down for a drive-thru window.
The bar is once again lowered.