Thursday, June 3, 2010

La Conner needs...

For the past few weeks, I have been listening to what people have been saying, and pondering the question myself: What does La Conner need?

Lots of people will have varying answers, some of them implying big chain companies should elbow-in and erect one of their stores so people don't have to drive 20 minutes to Mount-Burlington. I don't think this is a very good idea, personally. La Conner needs, and thrives, on the small-town appeal. Although, sometimes the small-town personality is, well, a little too small. (Or at least small in a different sense than it should be).

Here are some of the ideas I have put together in a list (in no real order of importance):

Theatre/movies - Sure, there are movie theatres sprinkled all around La Conner, but La Conner needs its own venue. True, there are times when a movie is played in Pioneer Park, Maple Hall, or even the school district's auditorium, but its not as often as it should be.

I think the best venue could be the school auditorium. It is usually perfect for the school and community plays, but there would need to be a larger screen and a little better sound system in order to get a quality that is worthy of consistent community attention. Maple Hall is a close second, but again there would have to be an upgrade on the visual and audio systems, and a larger community support to fill up the extra seats. Pioneer Park gets too cold at night, even during the summer, and the mosquitoes eat people alive.

I'm not saying La Conner needs to show all the newest movies, but even a movie once a month, with the right community support will add a whole new appeal and charm to La Conner. Remember when going to the movies was a big deal, and it was a mini social event all on its own? La Conner needs that as a variation from the plays--as brilliant and excellently performed as they are, there's just a certain appeal to watching a movie on a screen.

Writer's Loft - I know a few people that have a hard time trying to find a decent place to just sit down and write when they need to. True, the coffee stops like La Crema Coffee and Next Chapter have seating (not to mention America's Energizer: caffeine), but sometimes writers really need the isolation and silence (that might not be obtainable at home).

La Conner really needs a place reserved for writers to go and just write. I imagine a large room with a good view of the town, a table in the center of the room, and maybe even a few "cubicles" (or divided spaces) for those that need the extra bit of isolation. This could also really be a place for students to go for a conducive studying environment.

If the La Conner Regional Library gets the right funding to construct or buy a new building, the writer's loft would be a perfect addition. Maybe there could even be a beverage vendor for the creative minds that crave their morning wake-up call. And just for kicks, there should be a small, sound-proof room with a table, and maybe like three manual typewriters that could be rented out in half-hour increments. It would be very interesting to see if this would catch on.

Covered Space - There has been too many times when I'm walking around town that I want to just sit down, maybe write or enjoy a sandwich, but I can't because it's either rainy, windy, or some other ill-driven weather. Gilkey Square is often a really good place to sit around and eat a sandwich, but as soon as it starts raining I'm pretty much out of options. True, there is the La Conner Fruit and Produce Market, but I'm pretty sure they'd frown upon me eating a home-made (or worse, Pioneer Market-made) sandwich in front of paying customers.

A covered space to just hang out and get away from bad weather would be an excellent addition for the town, and wouldn't be that expensive. I can see it becoming popular with kids hanging out after school, but the shelter would have to be easily monitored by any passerby--to discourage against abuse.

Green Power - La Conner has recently been gearing itself up with more alternative-power lifestyle choices. Just recently, the Giovanes installed a solar panel and solar-heated water system, and the town's own solar panels are just about up and running at the water treatment plant. Once everything is squared away with the town, there will be a public workshop to hopefully pull in more people to looking at alternative options for everyday power.

While writing on this topic, I ended up going on a very long tangent associated with all of this. Due to the length, I will save all of that for another time. For right now, let's just say I'm all for using more green options in everyday La Conner life.

Community Dances - Again, with the cultivation of the sense of community in La Conner, there needs to be a bit more of it more often. Sure, during the annual Arts Alive! weekend shops stay open later, people mill around socializing, and there's an event at Maple Hall, but this isn't enough for the other 360+ days of the year. There needs to be some type of filler that brings everyone (or most people) in our community together to have fun.

More dances (for all age groups) is a very good option, and I don't think people would mind paying around $5 every couple of weeks for a night of fun and entertainment. It might even help the younger generations from using their electronic devices so often, and encourage them to socialize with people around them, rather than on the other end of the digital-line.

As far as events where people are encouraged to mill around town later in the evening, possibly stopping in a shop or two on the way, we need another handful of weekends--and I have the perfect idea for the first one.

The Museum of Northwest Art is having a Fishtown-themed show, starting in July. I think it would be awesome if local shops worked together to stay open later, and get people walking around town a bit more. We could definitely make this like a weekend (or week-long) event that celebrates La Conner's history and community.

1 comment:

  1. Alexander:

    These are all really good ideas! I think La Conner thrives on being a small community and I agree that no big chains should go near it. You have some really good points. I'd also like to see La Conner have a street fair like Mount Vernon. Or even, like you touched on, one weekend a month just have a strip of the town stay open later with lower prices/dinner deals to encourage people to get out of the house and mingle in LC. It's great!