A-1 Builders turns 60 this September and it’s time to celebrate this new decade by giving back to our community… again!
While 60 may be referred to as the youth of old age for humans, not so for businesses and organizations. Although in a legal sense corporations may be considered persons, they sure don’t age the same way! We’re a perfect example. Although A-1 is turning 60, we’re exploring the transformation of our firm into a worker-owned cooperative! (My next blog post will be all about worker-owned cooperatives and why we’re leaning that way, so stay tuned.) More a re-birth than a move into an assisted-living unit, the coop model will infuse the company with additional, fresh ownership blood.
When we turned 50 in 2005 we were driven to find an appropriate way to thank our community. After all, without the help and engagement of our clients, neighbors, subs, vendors, and professional affiliates, there’d be no ‘us’, right? Mutual symbiosis. Community.
We chose to help the Community Food Coop birth a rather large bicycle parking facility pictured right here…
We provided the design work and construction at virtually no cost to the Food Coop; our employees, subs, vendors and even a few, fellow builders jumped in and donated the materials and labor to make this happen. (For more on the Coop’s bike port go HERE.)
Now, approaching 60, we sought another project to thank our community and again settled upon the promotion of cycling as a worthy cause. This time it will be an 11’ x 11’ kiosk on site here on Northwest Avenue, accessible from the sidewalk. It’ll include a bike stand with an air pump, along with the appropriate tools for... Throw in bulletin boards galore, we’ll provide cyclists and pedestrians with maps and information, ranging from city bike and pedestrian paths to garage sale notices to organizational event notices. Here’s glimpse at what it will look like:
All with donations and volunteer labor! We reached out to our employees, subs and vendors… then to our clients and professional affiliates. Given the enormous generosity of those asked, the donations equal the costs! And a plaque listing the volunteers and donators will join the information that will adorn the kiosk.
Our thanks also go out… big time… to the efforts by the City of Bellingham’s permit center. At first glance, due to the zoning of our property, permits looked like they would cost about $3,300, and this hurdle proved to be our biggest speed bump! Really. For an 11’ x 11’ covered kiosk we and others wanted to give to our community!
Wasn’t there a way to bring permitting costs down?
Yes, indeed. The city drilled deeply and discovered that since the kiosk could be considered an accessory use of our property, there would be no need to access and pay for a Planned Development permit. $300 instead of $3,300. Whew…
If things go according to our high dream, this kiosk will be the first of many throughout town. Imagine a dependable scattering of bike repair and information kiosks along various bike paths, all perhaps funded via crowdfunding. Let’s dream big.
So keep your eyes open for the emergence of our kiosk as time goes on. We know we won’t have it done for Bike to Work and School Day on May 15th. For now, our construction schedule is unclear; we simply know it will come to pass.
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