The question is the form that shot in the arm should take. Considering this question without falling into the traditional trap that it would take hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a huge dent is tough, but absolutely necessary.
This brings me to 123 S. Queen St.
Now, let's pivot and imagine what could be. With $50,000, this could become...
- a co-working space where local non-profits and small business could collaborate on local and regional initiatives,
- a children's theater and arts space,
- a start-up incubator for companies looking to better serve a rural market, or
- countless other spaces that could multiply Kinston's present value (economic and beyond)
Whatever a particular community judges as best for itself isn't as important so much as establishing that a project styled in this manner is not only entirely reasonable, it is incredibly necessary. Catalyzing growth through crowdfunding would have a marginally greater impact in Kinston than almost anywhere else in the country. The next step down the road - establishing a roadmap or model for other small towns to pursue a similar path themselves - wouldn't be that tough, either. It's not crazy to imagine that projects and growth like this could become the norm, spiderwebbing into hundreds of directions. Together, we know thousands of people who know thousands of people who care about places like Kinston. If they have the internet and $20, they can help.
And let's not fool ourselves into thinking that this isn't a choice. It is. If we don't reconsider the value of the rural South, we will suffocate its history, ignore its value, and willfully cement the increasing urban/rural class divides. That's not a future I care to be a part of, and I have to wonder if places like 123 S. Queen St. are the key to drastically altering the landscape of the rural Southeast.
A group down payment of $50,000 could help destroy a mindset about where growth can and should happen, and who should have a seat at the table.
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- Both projects are striving to create spaces that are intentionally designed for people to cross paths.
- Both projects represent a synthesis of a particular community's voice
- The spaces being discussed both have a clearly articulated historical relevance
- Both projects plan to bolster the strength of existing community elements by providing a more stable and productive home.