The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Consultant, community leaders discuss development

 

February 14, 2019



Becky McCray, a consultant who comes from a very small town in Oklahoma, visits small communities, encourages conversation and leaves them with ideas for improvement.

McCray met with a group of elected officials and interested citizens on Friday morning for a quick tour of Cathlamet before gathering with a larger crowd, including some Wahkiakum High School students, at the River Street meeting room at 10:30 a.m.

“Here’s what I decided about your town,” McCray said. “You have a really great charm of a mountain town, and then you have this beautiful river out there. This really has the feel of a mountain community which is really missing in Cowlitz County.”

She said there were some great businesses and buildings. She wished someone would do something with the saloon. She suggested a pop-up market in the parking lot next to the old hardware store, letting local people sell their creations or food.

“You spend a lot of time telling people about it,” McCray said. “As few rules as possible, just let people have fun. It takes off because people want to be part of it.”

Sandi Benbook-Rieder suggested that what was needed was strategic planning for highest and best use.

“My bias is what can we do today, what can we do right away that is going to cost less than 20 bucks and is going to really matter in the future?” McCray said. “How can we give a small but meaningful role to everybody in the community?”

“It gives everybody with an entrepreneurial idea a chance to do it,” she said of pop-up markets.

McCray suggested setting up a community calendar and allowing people to come to meetings to discuss and add to the calendar periodically, which would lead to more ideas and discussion.

“She says to start small, start with yourself,” Cathlamet business owner and McCray fan Paige Lake said. “Don’t worry about the people that say ‘We tried that before and it didn’t work.’ That doesn’t mean it won’t work with someone else in the lead.”

 

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