3/16/19 – by Timothy Tipton
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In the center of downtown Harrington, a historic landmark building was torn down some years back and now there is an empty lot in its place. Located across the street from the Memorial Hall/Senior Center and the historic Opera House, where events and gatherings take place, this lot is currently unsafe, unusable and unsightly. The project is to make this lot a safe, beautiful, healthy outdoor place for people (from young to old) to gather, use as a walking destination, and to interact within the community. This is viable solution to the current state of the vacant property. It would bring the downtown core together in a usable and aesthetically pleasing way. Plus, the new business storefronts both open and under ongoing renovations would benefit from this lot development.
The vision for the development of this lot is to enhance community health by creating a space for people to connect and enjoy pride of place in a meaningful and long-term way. Additionally it would increase participation in community events like Fall Festival, Fun Run, Cruizin’ Harrington and the numerous Opera House performances. It’s possible that it would promote new activities like healthy food, farmers markets and senior meal picnics, or allow for cultural activities to take place in music, art and storytelling. All of these examples would encourage inter-generational activities and community engagement moving forward.
So here is the general plan….. a group of us got together, came up with a concept plan with help from a local area landscape architect; this plan is displayed on signage in the lot currently. As for the lot, the brick wall that borders the south side of the lot is a remnant wall leftover from the building that was torn down and is connected to the building south of it. The goal is to stabilize this wall and level the lot for proper drainage. There will be a walkway with pavers, a gazebo structure, restroom, seating, lighting and power outlets to serve as a space for downtown outdoor activities. A focus on sustainable vegetation will be installed in this lot along with a “xeriscape design” using plants and trees native to the area that require little water. Harrington is in the process of revitalization in the central historic downtown and is a walk-able community. The lot development will bring people together as well as create a natural start and end point for activities. Furthermore, allowing for a central place to meet for event communication and visitor information. It will act as a welcoming place for people and a natural stopping point for visitors and community members of all ages alike.
We received a “challenge grant” from the Innovia Foundation out of Spokane in the amount of $30,000. What this means is that for every $1 we raise they will match (up to $30,000).They have set up a Community Fund that is now ready to accept donations towards this project. Now we need our community to get behind this project in any way possible. You can contribute to this project by volunteering your time, money and in kind services. We encourage you to reach out if you’d like to be involved as all help is welcomed. At present time you may donate funds one of two ways….
- Online by going to the Innovia Foundation “Give Now” page on their website at innovia.org/give-now/. Once on this page, donors can search “Harrington Town Square Community Fund” from the drop down list of funds. Then, donors can enter their credit card and personal information and then hit “submit.”
- Via check by making the check out to “Innovia Foundation” and mentioning the Harrington Town Square Community Fund either in the memo line or on a separate memo. Checks can be mailed to their office at:
421 W. Riverside Ave. Suite 606
Spokane, WA 99201
If you have further questions on this project please email the Harrington Area Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org