The Forest County Business Alliance has issued a Request for Proposals for a consultant to study the feasibility of creating a maker space facility in Forest County.  The deadline for proposals has passed and selection of a consultant is underway.

Development of a maker space was proposed as a way to expand upon the growth of the creative community and creative economy already underway in Tionesta.  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 work space and shared equipment for people who make things and lack adequate space or equipment to produce or develop new products/work.  This may include artists, product artisans (food, soaps, candles, etc.), musicians and vocalists, technology developers, etc.

The feasibility study will determine the level of interest in such a facility, the needs of those interested in using it, opportunities for programming, its appeal as a tourist attraction, options for location, potential economic impact, and more details.  Gathering local input will be the primary goal of the selected consultant, as well as 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 Forest County.

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 feasibility is not confirmed, the consultant will propose an alternate project(s) based upon their findings and further research.