The Forest County Business Alliance is engaging a consultant to study the feasibility of creating a maker space facility in Forest County. An RFP was issued and awarding of the contract will be completed by the end of March.
This project was proposed as a way to add to the growth of the creative community and creative economy already underway in Tionesta and to serve the needs of artists, artisans, and makers in the broader Tionesta area. The success of the Tionesta Market Village is an indication that there is an opportunity to grow the local economy by focusing on the creative sector and combining it with tourism and manufacturing.
While there are many variations on the maker space concept, they are all basically a shared workspace and equipment for those who lack adequate space or equipment to produce or develop new products/work. Some maker spaces also include retail space, classes/workshops, events, demonstrations, etc. Potential users could include anyone who makes anything, including manufacturers looking to expand their product offerings by working with the creative community.
Helping local “makers” to make more, collaborate with other makers, and grow or develop their businesses is the primary goal of the project, as well as development of an attraction that will help extend the tourism season and bring more people to Forest County.
The feasibility study will determine the level of interest in the area, the needs of those interested, opportunities for programming, the appeal as a tourist attraction, options for location, potential economic impact, and more. The selected consultant will gather local input as well as research best practices used by other maker spaces in rural communities and the costs associated with what is determined to be the best maker space variation for this area.
If a maker space is determined to be feasible, the selected consultant will then develop an implementation plan to guide development of a maker space. If their findings determine that it is not feasible and sustainable, the consultant will propose an alternate project(s) based upon further research.
Anyone interested in serving on the Feasibility Study Committee or wishing to be placed on the email contact list for public meeting notices and project updates should email firstname.lastname@example.org.