Editorial: A partnership in the making?

It seems like a made to order match-up came to light last week in the city.

Thursday evening a presentation at the Yorkton Public Library detailed how a restored old brick mill in the city could become on economic driver.

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That was the message those attending a presentation at the Yorkton Public Library heard from speaker Royce Pettyjohn whose presentation was entitled ‘Heritage Led Economic Drivers for Our Community’.

In revitalizing a building there needs to be a vision of how that building will generate enough revenue to keep it open, said Pettyjohn. That means something such as a museum, while seeming a natural fit, is not the answer as museums don’t make money.

That is where partnerships become critical for a project, as they can become tenants, be it other groups, or businesses.

“Make historic buildings pay for themselves,” he said.

With a way to pay the bills, part of the building can be used by the community, often with a heritage aspect, said Pettyjohn.

“It needs to be a place for people and not just a place for things,” he said. “... People have to be able to spend time there. Create a sense of time and place. Don’t build something that is generic.”

The very next day the Yorkton Tribal Council cut the ribbon on new offices.

While Tribal Chief Isabelle O’Soup noted, “this is our new home. There’s nothing more exciting that getting a new home,” she added it was not the end of development for YTC.

O’Soup said in the future YTC will be looking for a meeting place for its people and the broader community.

That sounds like an ideal partnership for those looking to revitalize the old brick mill with a major addition that reasonably requires a paying partner to help offset operational costs.

Pettyjohn encouraged any development associated with the mill to be an open one, meaning it would be adaptable to varying needs, such as a meeting place for the YTC?

The partnership also makes sense in terms of history.

The mill might represent the endeavours of the earliest European settlers, and the emergence of agriculture as an economic driver of what Saskatchewan would become, but the history of the region goes back long before the first European arrived.

While the mill might end up focused on farm history, it would be amiss if it did not include some of the history of First Nations in the area.

A partnership between YTC and the Brick Mill committee would be a natural step to ensuring the broader history of the region is part of the development.

It is a discussion that at the very least needs to be undertaken, but it does look like an ideal solution for both groups.

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