Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring, Snow, and Moving Issues for the Sinclair Lewis Foundation: Chamber of Commerce, Too

Wednesday, March 31, 2010. I think spring is here for real. Of course, this is Minnesota: and it wouldn't be unheard of for us to get some more snow. Not terribly likely, though.

You may remember this photo, taken about two weeks ago, and shown in the March 21, 2010, entry. March 18, 2010.

Same scene, just over 10 days later. There's a little of the snow left: but not much. March 29, 2010.

I don't know that it's a sign of spring: but Sauk Centre has reminders out near several crosswalks. It's a state law to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. It's also a good idea, I think. Almost all of us are pedestrians now and again: and if we don't stop when we're driving, how can we expect drivers to stop when we're walking? Or rolling, as the case may be.

Hard to miss: I hope. March 29, 2010.

There's the flip side, of course: Sauk Centre is still small enough for folks to think jaywalking is a good idea. I haven't had any near misses yet this year: but I haven't been out as much as I have been some previous years. Me? I've jaywalked a few times: but these days I think the benefit/risk ratio favors using the crosswalk. I haven't had the experience, but I'd think it would be downright inconvenient to get punted by a car.

The street sweepers are out: those Elgin units have been going up and down the streets in my neighborhood, dealing with a winter's worth of sand and grit.

An Elgin street sweeper, roaring along. March 31, 2010.

This week's Sauk Centre Herald has an article about the Sinclair Lewis Foundation: "Left in Limbo?" That building down by the Interstate has been their home since before my family moved to town, some two decades back. Since the city has decided to sell the land, they need to move. (I wrote about this on Sunday.)

So does the Chamber of Commerce.

The Sinclair Lewis Foundation is in a pickle. They doesn't have a backup facility to move into. And they don't have enough money to move, anyway. That Interpretive Center isn't the sort of thing you can pack up and move in the back of a pickup.

The Herald's opening sentence was suitably dramatic: "The city council's decision to sell the land that houses the Interpretive Center has drawn the ire of some who think preservation of history is more important than financial growth."

I'm going out on a limb a little with this, but here's a thought: Instead of just getting irate, how about doing something about the situation? From what I read, the really big issue is that the S.L.F. doesn't have enough money to cover moving.

Helping them to get the interpretive center set up somewhere else isn't, I think, quite the same sort of priority as the Haiti fundraisers earlier this year were. But the way we gave to help Haiti survivors demonstrated that folks in this area can pitch in when there's a need.

Moving is expensive, but a little upwards of 4,000 people live in Sauk Centre. and if each of us gave, on average, a few dollars - you get the idea.

I checked earlier today, and this is the current mailing address for the Sinclair Lewis Foundation. As far as I know, they haven't started passing the hat: but maybe you could help get them started.

Sinclair Lewis Foundation
PO Box 25
Sauk Centre, MN 56378
No pressure, but I can think of worse ways to spend a few bucks.

The Chamber of Commerce has to move, too. Not this week, but I'd be surprised if that property isn't sold before too many months pass. The Chamber of Commerce may not be in quite the same fix that the S.L.F. folks are in: but they've had a really nice location there, and probably won't get the sort of walk-in traffic they've had after they move. That's too bad, because I think they've done a pretty good job of letting folks coming into town know what visitors can do, besides drive straight through.

I'll get off my soapbox now. And like I said, no pressure.

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