How grassroots efforts and the internet could have worked magic to save the school board’s image AND save the barn
Lastly, I submit Exhibit E. The article that started it all was widely circulated online. It has drawn 50 comments to date on its DMR webpage. It’s generated even more comments in the other places where citizens are linking to it. Had the district written an article on its own website (say, on the Valley construction 2011 page), it could have had all the interaction instead of the Register. The school could have had feedback that suits the needs of the customers and been perceived as highly sensitive to the needs of the people it serves. A missed opportunity.
Can the School Board regain trust?
Probably not before March 1. The negative image the city is giving the world through the barn situation has been discussed accurately multiple times on the Insight on Business radio show and blog. If the community felt comfortable with its elected board, eighty-some people wouldn’t have driven through deep snow to attend Monday’s board meeting and talked for two hours.
Twenty-two out of twenty-seven unique commenters (81.5%) at the school board meeting expressed interest in keeping the barn. Currently, 1900 people on facebook want to save the barn. 700 people have signed an online petition to save the Maplenol Barn.
If the barn stayed in its current location and served as storage, perhaps with an interpretive sign, people would probably be happy. I’m guessing that would be relatively cheap with in-kind donations (names culled from commenters on the website or direct email sent in) – maybe equal to the bid to demolish it.
However, I heard commenters last Monday begging to be drawn into the barn – for classes, meeting space, as an events hall, for an eating experience, and museum. People are craving interaction with the barn. Late last week, I got to enter the barn. During that time, three people parked their cars, hopped out to photograph the barn, then drove away. Their actions tell me that they desire barn memories. They want something that is more than a place to store riding lawn mowers.