Bowling & Board Games @ Hillside Lanes

Project: Downtown’s first event was a success.

View the album here and tag yourself and your friends!

The next open meeting is:

Fuzzy Logic

Tuesday, March 3

6:30pm.

Bring your ideas, bring a friend!

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James Takeo: Get Behind Project: Downtown

I’m pretty happy to read about one of the newest initiatives taking place in our community, the Project: Downtown event, commencing Thursday.

Many know that I’m a fan of downtown revitalization, but from more of a grassroots perspective. I applaud the members on their attempt to “breathe new life into Welland’s downtown while simultaneously reintroducing a sense of pride in the heart of the city” by investing interest into this community’s best resource: its people.

When I read the online article regarding this event, and after reading through the comments section, I noted one stated that he wished to hear a listing of the positive aspects of Welland. This made me curious about what people around here might list as the positives that exist here, so, after an informal survey on one of my social media accounts, I received a number of responses from others about all things “Welland good.”

Not surprisingly, the recreational canal was mentioned numerous times, along with much of our green spaces and parks in our city. There were mentions of specific places (Merritt Island, Chippawa Park), sporting activities (fishing, rowing, hockey, canoeing), venues (library, museum, market square), arts and culture (murals, sculpture park), location (proximity to Toronto, in heart of Niagara region) and some of the great local businesses many of us patronize (Pupo’s, Celi & Presti’s).

Of all the responses, the most interesting and numerous ones were the references to the people who live here, as can be summed up by one commentator on my survey thread when he quipped that Welland has “the feeling of family among friends.”

Granted, there are times when people in this city can be divided on issues and concerns, but I feel that most here understand the truth in the above statement about the feeling of family. I have witnessed times when some of our own citizens are in a time of dire need, as the result of some emergency, and when the word goes out seeking help, it gets answered — fast.

For a city of 51,000, often it feels like a much smaller town, and I believe that although the economics and some of demographics of this community have changed, the sense of community spirit still remains embedded in the bones of these streets whose names we all know so well, for both newcomers and “lifers” alike.

With the harsh economic reality that is here locally, any initiative is a step in a good direction. Get people out, enjoy the neighbourhood, check out the local businesses and patronize when possible, and, most importantly, meet and talk to each other.

With the desire to attract people downtown, this Project: Downtown initiative addresses a need that businesses in the downtown core could realize: people want to not only come downtown, but they may want to come downtown to do something.

There are a few places downtown that offer dining and refreshments in good atmosphere, but beyond eating and drinking, what else is there to do? Libraries and museums offer a bit, and the occasional event downtown — and hopefully a free concert series in the future — does attract people to the downtown core. There are also some businesses that do provide local entertainment, but beyond that, there feels as though there is little to do.

Maybe it’s time we start finding things to do downtown, or, in the case of the Project: Downtown, make something to do ourselves.

Put down your device, turn off the TV and hope to see you downtown soon.

This column appeared in the Welland Tribune, Feb. 23, 2015

http://www.wellandtribune.ca/2015/02/23/takeo-get-behind-project-downtown

Welland’s newest cafe-style community hub… coming soon!

Things are happening in Downtown Welland!

Join David Clow (www.davidclow.ca) on March 7 for the grand opening of Welland’s newest community hub. This is a space that will give Wellanders a place to gather, get work done and enjoy one another’s company. A host of free business services will mean you don’t have to dig deep into the pocketbook.

RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/321319028079404/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Welcome to Downtown, David!

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If you need free use of super-fast high-speed internet, then you can come into our free downtown-core cafe-style studio and surf the web. If you do not have enough for a coffee, then do not worry; it is not that kind of place. You can have some for free, while you do your work and admire the art on the walls. And this will not be your regular cafe. From the murals on the walls to the make-your-own fresh smoothie bar, this place is for the community, not for profit. If you need to print out resumes or other documents, if you need to send a fax somewhere, even long distance, or if you need to scan or copy documents, then you will be able to do so for free.

But that is not all… this ‘ Community Hub’ is going to be available office space, as well. We have two large multi-use offices designed for co-working spaces – one will be more hands on with visual arts and the like while the other room will be more technologically focused, to keep the paint and such out of the electronic equipment used in the other space for computer image generating, gaming design, and more. We have multiple Apple computers, macbook air laptops, and LED screens, all available for use, including the executive office space available to woo that big client.

A large shared kitchen and two bathrooms will be available for all to use. The large centre space will be a multifunction space designed as an art studio, but with the functionality to facilitate many diverse events. This space will be an art studio, showcasing local artists, but it will also act as a videography and photography studio available for use to all. Really, the possibilities are endless. And, this space will sustain itself.

Project: Downtown

Project: Downtown is a not-for-profit, community-run initiative aimed at restoring life to Downtown Welland, Ontario.

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Art by Ben Babelowsky http://www.artbybabelowsky.com/

Our group aims to bring Wellanders back to the downtown core and secure this historical site as the heart of our community.

In order to do this we are working together with local businesses and active members of the community to create open, free events which we hope will inspire the citizens of our town, and beyond, to rediscover a changing Welland.

Join us for our first event! Free Bowling! Free board games! Free refreshments!

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RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/781106521959043/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

Join the conversation about Welland’s exciting new project!

Get WISE to Welland
Welland Innovation Studio & Events


Calling all!
artists,
photographers,
freelancers,
entrepreneurs,
small business owners,
organizations,
non-for-profits,
who are interested in creating a community workspace / event space in downtown Welland.


We have the critical mass, the manpower, the investors and an abundance of inexpensive real estate available to create a space that will serve our community for years to come. If revitalizing the downtown core, engaging with local artists and business people and creating a business and life you love is important to you, join us for an open conversation.


Welland Community Wellness Complex,
145 Lincoln Street
Lincoln Street, Welland
Thursday, February 19 @ 7:00pm


ABOUT THE PROJECT:
As it stands today, we’re looking at creating a shared space that would house three studios and event space:


A Photography Studio: More than a career, photography is a passion!  A shared space, available for rent by the hour, day or by the month, complete with lighting and equipment.  Become part of the photography network and share techniques, collaborate on projects and create events.


A Coworking Space: A shared space that would allow freelancers, entrepreneurs and small business owners to break free of their home offices, work together or on their own separate projects, and forge important business partnerships and friendships. A meeting room and dedicated office spaces can be made available for this venture. Open to all sorts of organizations in the community that want to be more connected.
 


An Artist Studio: This large space would give artists a place to work on their projects, either collaboratively or individually. Along with work space, we will be holding workshops and classes.  Create a life around what you love and share it!