Two weeks ago Cafe 12 made a strong presentation to the newly elected Bridgewater Town Council. With a completed Expression of Interest process, there was one other interested party besides Cafe 12. This is a buyer who would purchase the property.
Cafe 12 makes a strong case for the social and economic benefits of a social enterprise in the old library building. If the building sold it may fetch approximately $350 000-$400 000. This is would be an immediate payback for the town.
However, for a longer vision and more substantial return on investment, research shows that in a similar community in Ontario, the reduction of police costs attributed to an enterprise like Café 12 is estimated at $92,250 per annum, and direct cost savings from hospital visits averted for adolescent mental health are $314,639 per annum. Young people engaged in community activities like Cafe 12 would provide, have more chances of completing school. Research shows that an individual who has dropped out of school has a cost associated of $470 000-$900 000 over their lifetime due to accessing social services, education and employment insurance, including lost earning potential.
Already the cost benefits could be way above the selling price of the library.
In addition, Cafe 12 would support the maintenance and upkeep of a heritage building in downtown Bridgewater and support increased tourism, downtown revitalization and increased pedestrian traffic.
Currently Cafe 12 is asking to enter into negotiations with the town for a lease agreement. Cafe 12’s intention is for this lease agreement to be agreeable to both parties. Here’s what others are saying:
I’m posting the following on the Town of Bridgewater’s Facebook page. If you support the Cafe 12 concept, I would encourage you to express a similar message there. The town’s Facebook page is a great way to connect with council and staff and make your opinions known.****In the spirit of creating a vibrant downtown core and helping to engage citizens across all ages and backgrounds in our town, I voice my support for the Cafe 12 concept and urge the Town of Bridgewater to commit to enter into negotiations for a lease-hold agreement with the Cafe 12 group for the King Street library building.
Investing money in Cafe 12 is a smart investment in our community – Cafe 12 will provide an excellent, extended-hours eating option in our downtown, while simultaneously working to support community groups, encourage and promote art in all its forms, connect volunteers and make the core of our town a more welcoming.I believe that Cafe 12 can help make Bridgewater’s heart beat stronger than ever.
Stephen Young; MSW, BA, RSW Clinical Social Worker , Family Therapist
For years the town library has been a place for ideas to be explored and fostered. The Café 12 plan would give new life to an iconic town landmark and allow it to continue in the role of inspiring the minds of many future generations to come. I fully support Café 12’s proposal for use of the town library building and hope that you will support this building to continue to play a vital role in building and supporting our community.
Joanne Faulkenham, Downtown Business Owner
The Town is in the process of working with Ekistics design team to create a Downtown Waterfront Master Plan. This plan will hopefully unite, grow and improve the entire town. So it is my personal opinion, that Cafe 12 would be a great fit to this plan.
We all look for a sense of place, a feeling of attachment. This is especially important for the youth of this town. We need to create an environment for them to grow this attachment. So as they mature into adults, they will leave to continue their education, but having this attachment, they will return. They will bring back their knowledge and skills. Buy homes, pay taxes and raise families here.
Town Council will be discussing the next use for the Library building on Monday, Dec 10th.