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Letter to the Editor: a plan to save North Building

Posted: Tue, Mar 5, 2013 4:21 PM
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(Letter to the Editor from Carol Dowe of Vancouver, B.C.)

We have found our efforts to save the North Building very alarming when we have tried to ask and not receive help from the Board of Supervisors.  We have asked for photos, or ability to take photos, have asked for an estimate of the work to be done, (cleanup and construction) to make the building habitable and up to code....and have been told "it's a done deal"!

This is not an appropriate response to many of us here in Decorah who see this North Building as an asset to the community (it is assessed for $280,000) I believe, so why tear it down?  Why not try and get our heads together, and Table this decision, until we can put together a Business Plan.

Here is a rough plan:

1. Ask Retired Building Superintendent person to estimate clean up and carpentry to make "working stalls" for artists, woodworking, pottery, crafts, etc.

2. Prepare a Coffee Bar with home baked goods and comfy tables and chairs with  Cozy woodburning/gas fireplace.

3. Gift Shop

4. All shops would be rent free first 3 months to get organized and set up, and then rent for $200 each for one year leases, until established.

There is approximately 3,000 sq. feet of usable space on the main floor that could have approximately 10 stalls 15x15 feet.

5.  With my 30 years of real estate experience in the State of Washington and British Columbia, and managing real estate, I could advertise, now, and arrange for interviews and occupancy by April 15 with leases.

6.  We need the month of March to do construction, cleanup, arrange volunteers and a construction supervisor.

We need the Board of Supervisors to give us ownership for $1.00 for the land and buildings if we are going to take on the cost of getting the North Building in shape.  This is what we did with our Old School House in Qualicum Beach, BC, a town of 8,000 people, and 25 years later, it is a beautiful example of what can be done with a community working together to save a building from the Bulldozer.

Thank you Decorah, I will be home in April to help you personally. Carol Dowe

PS:  We need your help with writing letters to your Supervisors: email:  supervisors@co.winneshiek.ia.us expressing your heart and calling them too!

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