If you love some(thing), set it free

I’ve spent the last few years attached to the development of Minnehaha Ave as a vibrant shopping district. It’s been an important distraction as we’ve waited (sometimes, im)patiently for the end of a seemingly interminable (but critically important) road reconstruction project.

And it has, for all intents and purposes, been wildly successful: there are now nearly a dozen businesses marketing collaboratively under the banner of the Minnehaha Mile. Would-be restaurant proprietors are nearly tripping over each other in an effort to find kitchen space on our little stretch of retail heaven (if you have any commercial kitchen leads, let me know!). The oh-so-hipsters (not to mention the ‘don’t-call-me-a-hipsters’) have clearly found their collective way to Minnehaha.

Sometimes, you can find yourself heading so intently down a path that it’s kind of a surprise to look up and realize that you’ve lost some of the folks who’d started – or joined in – for the experience of walking together.

Last week, as I sought to redistribute some of the work I’ve added to my own plate, I realized that my commitment level to pushing Minnehaha forward was just that: mine. I’m not the only one who’s highly committed to the collaborative spirit that has come to define the Minnehaha Mile, but many are less interested in spending much time and energy to develop shared infrastructure when the trade-off is making traction on their own businesses. Totally logical, of course.

My mission to get us all to the finish line (end of road construction) in one piece has admittedly been more about the destination than the journey, a buckling-down and getting-through to a future point, with its promise of less challenging existential circumstances. Thank heavens, we’re almost through.

With the imminent reopening of Minnehaha, it’s time to begin focusing intently on a more personal journey.

In the last week, it’s been a relief to find someone willing and able to coordinate updates and printing for the MinneMile’s pocket maps. Different shop teams have stepped up to handle some of our annual and seasonal events, as well as social media efforts on behalf of the whole. I’ve decided to stop ring-leading ad hoc monthly meetings for our group of shop owners (if it really matters, others will step in to make it happen).

What will I be doing with all of this found time? Easy: facilitating two NightMarkets a year (starting in 2017), supporting the collaborative efforts of others, spending more time with my kiddo (and taking better care of myself), and focusing on what Junket does best: building connections between creativity, community, and reuse.

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