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Looking for Inspiration — business community brainstorms plans to boost local mood, celebrate summer

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

By Chris Marchand

Weary of simmering discontent over the state of affairs in Dryden, a working group of Dryden businesses and citizens gathered Monday to workshop ideas to improve the mood and benefit businesses this summer.

At the core of the larger discussion was a proposal to create one day per week of the summer, from July to the end of August, where businesses could foster the ideal conditions for organized or spontaneous attractions to arise downtown or along the waterfront areas.

The Monday evening meeting was spearheaded by the Riverview Lodge’s Suzanne Scherban who suggested that much could be done to bring Dryden’s hidden talent, beauty and pride to the surface.

“I think we need to just do things — as long as it’s safe and positive, then I think the city will accept things like that,” she said. “Not saying, ‘well, you need to have this permit, or that permit’. It’s being accepting of people showing up and putting things up on the street.”

Making use of public spaces like Earl’s Court is a component of that plan with musicians, crafters and artists who can be enticed outside after a long winter cooped up indoors.

“I would love to see the farmers’ market right downtown,” said Scherban. “At the arena they draw a crowd, but people just come quickly and go. It’s not like Oxdrift on a Saturday. We want that visiting and mingling. We want people to walk or bike downtown.”

Scherban has also suggested that Tony’s Bait and Tackle has been receptive to the idea of reduced minnow prices for kids in the hopes of getting more kids fishing along Wabigoon River and using the Duke St. Dock area.

Further along the waterfront, Scherban says that canoe and kayak rentals could be coordinated to happen on the same day each week.

The Dryden Chamber of Commerce’s Gwen Kurz says the chamber can become involved if the membership demonstrates its support in a meaningful way.

“I’m hoping that the chamber members will see the value in pressing ahead,” said Kurz. “We’ll see if it’s possible to not cost anybody any money and not get overly complicated.

Kinsmen president Dave Lyle said he feels the townsfolk are thirsting for inspiration.

“Once there’s a positive atmosphere around anything in Dryden, everyone comes out and supports it,” said Lyle. “When you think back to the centennial, everyone wanted to be a part of that. It’s that kind of energy that helps everyone out.”

Along those same lines, the Cloverbelt Farmers Market’s Mel Fisher quipped in reference to the wildly successful Shake Your Booty hospital fundraiser, “If we can get 700 women to get all snookered up and raise $100,000,” that’s a lot of energy,”

Before the meeting broke, the working group had found two volunteers in Tyler Peacock and David Durance to head up the initial effort to devise a framework for the initiative, called ‘Dryden Days of Summer,’ as well as communicating it to the public via social media.

The Dryden Chamber of Commerce will be the initial point of contact for Dryden Days of Summer. For more information, contact Gwen Kurz at 223-2622.

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