The proposed design of the new Rainy Lake Market Square—formally unveiled last Thursday afternoon during a come-and-go open house on-site—sure generated plenty of chatter by those who either loved it or panned it.
Some called it “fantastic.” Others felt it was “underwhelming.” Still others said their input either hadn’t been heard or was downright ignored.
Perhaps chief among the complaints was that the design fails to be a tourist draw—lacking a “wow” factor to inspire people to stop. And that is a shame given being a tourist attraction was (or certainly should have been) the main rationale behind the market square idea in the first place.
Still, there’s no doubt the market square will be a vast improvement over the eyesore and community hazard that had occupied that space for far too long: namely, the old Rainy Lake Hotel.
It’s also clear the ultimate success of the market square rests on the shoulders of residents. As Charleen Mallory put it, “we need to furnish it with our good ideas.” In other words, it’s up to people to come up with ways to best utilize the square—both for the benefit of locals and hopefully tourists.
As the architects said, the key word to describe the market square is “flexibility.” In a nutshell, it’s designed to accommodate a wide variety of purposes—from market days to small performances, larger concerts, or even dining events.
It’s also designed with an eye to the future—to grow along with potential new businesses that may transform Scott Street down the road.
Who knows just how the market square will evolve? In the meantime, let’s first give it a chance to get off the ground.