‘Re-Inventing’ open house draws big turnout

If there was any doubt the public may not be interested in the “Re-Inventing Fort Frances” project, it disappeared Wednesday night as an inquisitive crowd turned out for an open house at La Place Rendez-Vous.
“We’ve estimated there was about 100 people who came through,” said committee chair Susan Bodnarchuk. “We had a steady flow all night long.
“We thought it would be over by 8 p.m., but it ended up being 8:30.”
Right from the opening at 4 p.m., a mix of local residents pored over maps of the town illustrating possible additions or modifications to enhance commerce and tourism.
People also chatted amongst themselves, as well as talked with “Re-Inventing” committee members and consultant Jeff Frank of Hilderman, Thomas, Frank and Cram (HTFC).
Results of a suggestion box survey and images of four possible murals to beautify the “lap” building were among the information made available at the open house.
“There was lots of discussion,” noted Bodnarchuk. “Lot of compliments, and some people who thought we should be doing things differently, which we also want to hear.
“The overall outcome was very positive.”
“There’s a good age range here,” committee member Tammi Shoemaker noted Wednesday night.
“There’s been good comments. There’s a lot of people here thinking about [‘Re-Inventing’], and that’s what this open house is about,” echoed Jean Marc Blanc, who also sits on the committee.
Like some others interviewed at the event, local resident Trevor Fitzgerald admitted he knew little about the surveys and research the “Re-Inventing” group and their consultants had been doing before he came to the open house.
“It’s really opened my eyes. It was worthwhile to come down here,” he remarked.
Those who attended the open house were encouraged to fill out suggestion forms.
“We had a few people who asked if they could take the forms home to give them more time to think about what they want to say,” noted Bodnarchuk, adding the comments have been turned over to the consultants for consideration.
A second open house will be held sometime in January, prior to the completion of the HTFC’s feasibility study draft report at the end of that month.