When we speak of community as being one of our triple bottom line margins for the El Moore project, to be clear we are including the people who already have a relationship with the El Moore because of their proximity to the El Moore site – our neighbors. What exactly is the best way to get to know your neighbors? Turns out the same holds true for a building project as it does for any individual family – you invite them over! And having something to snack on is usually a good idea. So that is what we had an opportunity to do on Oct 18. Just as when you are having guests, you usually have to tidy things up a bit, get your invites out…etc.
To help with getting the word out we called on Kevin Gardner, a designer at the Green Garage, to first design us a unique sign to explain our mystery project to any interested passersby. And true to form, Kevin did not disappoint with an informational sign that very well could be considered a work of art, urban and stylish (I was going to say pretty but that might be a little too girlie for some of our readers).
Next it was time to get the invites out – how could we do that without doing a blast through our social media networks, which is the common route these days but which would inevitably make the gathering for more than just our neighbors? Again we chose to keep it simple. We delivered a simple note to our neighbors with the relevant information to join us for our meet and greet over the Autumn staple of warm cider and donuts – yum!
October 18th, the day had finally come for all of us to meet. We had gotten the invites out – some even hand-delivered. Jason made his way to the Eastern Market early that morning to pick up supplies, tables were set and … amazingly neighbors showed up! We had a couple of goals in mind for our gathering: 1. we wanted to begin to build genuine relationships 2. not turn our humble gathering into a marketing event! It was just as we had hoped it would be.
Some people like Jim and Marilyn, who have lived in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years, had a lot to share about the neighborhood’s history (more to be shared in future posts). Many conversations centered around the El Moore buildings; a few wondered what that large rectangular structure was adjacent to the building (elevator tower). Many had commitments on the little building with all of the windows (the greenhouse).Lastly, there was a lot of interest in the types of vegetation that would be on the site (and thanks to Jim we learned that in Michigan a Chestnut Tree is never to be referred to as a Buckeye tree – thank you, Jim).
All in all, we had the opportunity to visit with about 25 of our neighbors and we are all the better for it.