By CRISTINA JANNEY
PLAINVILLE — Downtown Plainville Inc. has purchased a building volunteers hope to convert into a co-working space.
Work is under way at the building at 223 W. Mill, with the goal to open the facility yet this fall, said Ashley Comeau, secretary of the nonprofit.
The historic building was remodeled by local entrepreneur Chuck Comeau, but sat vacant for several years.
The co-working space will be called The Hub. After the building was constructed in the early 1900s, it housed a general store/men's clothing store called The Hub. The name is an homage to that history.
"That's been the goal of formulating this non-profit for downtown Plainville, not only to bring more people downtown," Ashley Comeau said, "but to see what we can do to try to help support business owners and help keep buildings and spaces full."
"We're really hopping to see downtown Plainville turn a corner," she said.
The nonprofit is cleaning the facility and has ordered new furniture.
Downtown Plainville Inc. applied and received grants from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Robert and Patricia Schmidt Foundation, Heartland Foundation, Anderson Trust, Plainville Community Foundation and Rooks County Healthcare Foundation to buy and prepare the building for its new use.
When finished, the co-working space will initially house six large desks plus a conference room and a foyer with casual seating.
The group hopes to build private office spaces in the future.
The group plans to install a keypad lock system, so regular users of the space can access the building 24/7, Comeau said.
Users also will have access to a printer and wireless internet.
"Our goal is for people who are currently working remotely can come in from their homes and network with others and not feel so secluded," she said. "But also we would like to have a space where people who come in from out of town can have a professional place to work in or meet people in."
Plainville also has insurance adjusters who come into the community and need to have a central, professional space to meet with farmers, Comeau said.
"I definitely think we are seeing more and more people move to town," she said, "especially where one spouse has a job locally and the other has a job where they moved back from."
Plainville has residents working remotely for businesses based in Wichita, Kansas City and as far away as California. Others have started business out of their homes, Comeau said.
Yet other workers may come home to visit family in Plainville from as far afield as other countries and might need a space to work for the weeks or the month they are home, she said.
The co-working space will have daily, monthly and yearly rates. Rates will be set at a later date by the Downtown Plainville board.