Community Meeting Wednesday to discuss Birchwood Cafe expansion

Community Meeting

An open conversation with neighbors as the Birchwood Cafe considers its needs for more space.

Seward Redesign is working with the Birchwood Cafe to address their needs for more space at their current location.  We would like to invite you to share your thoughts about what the Cafe brings to the community and how plans for improvements can be shaped to best reflect the values of the cafe and its relationship with the community.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
6:30-8:15 p.m.

Matthews Park Community Center
2318  29th Avenue South

Agenda for the meeting is as follows:

6:30  6:45            Welcome and introductions

6:45  7:00            Overview of the Birchwoods needs and a proposed project timeline

7:00  8:00            Input from the community on the challenges and opportunities for the cafe to consider in planning for an expansion at this location, including:

 Green space, greenery

 Sustainability/green building techniques

 Architectural design

 Buffering and transitions to neighbors

 Other items of importance

8:00-8:15            Summary and next steps

Please rsvp to Katya Pilling, 612-435-0276 or katya@sewardredesign.org.  Thanks!

A letter from Birchwood owner, Tracy Singleton, about the Cafe and her plans.

Dear Community Members,

I can hardly believe that fourteen years have passed since Cy and Del entrusted me with their family business name and an amazing opportunity to carry on their tradition of community and fresh local foods with the Birchwood Cafe.  I believe that the Birchwood’s success is a direct result of their legacy, and its location in the Seward neighborhood.   Despite the many naysayers those many years ago who told me “you’ll never survive in that location”, the cafe has been a great success.  I believe that this is a result of  the many unique characteristics of our Seward neighborhood and its  strong sense of community. So thank you all for being good neighbors and allowing me to establish and operate a business in your “back yard.  I am grateful for the opportunity to make a living and start a family right here in our neighborhood. I think the Birchwood Cafe has, in turn, contributed to strengthening our community.

Now I am writing to ask for your support as I look for ways to expand my business.

When I first opened the cafe doors in 1995, never in my wildest dreams could I have envisioned the success we’ve had to date.  Birchwood Cafe has grown up by living its mission to support local farmers and get people thinking about where their food comes from. In order to continue this mission, we need more space.

Our current facility is showing signs of age and is in need of reinvestment, and I need to know that I’m reinvesting in a business that is sustainable and has room to grow.   I want to stay in Seward and continue to operate in my current location.  I strongly believe that the sense of place and community vibe that is unique to Seward and Birchwood could not be replicated elsewhere.

I wanted to let you all know that I am at the very beginning stages of exploring my options.  I will be working in partnership with Seward Redesign, our community development corporation.  I presented my request to grow to the Seward Neighborhood Development Committee in October and had a good discussion. Now I am getting ready to look for an architect.  I look forward to working with all of  you to create a design that best fits  the neighborhood.

At this point in time I do not have specific expansion or remodel plans.  But I do have a desire to grow my business, and to do that, we need more space. I want to assure you that I am committed to an inclusive neighborhood process.  I am also committed to sustainability, and want to contribute to increasing sustainability in our neighborhood. This would be the driving factor of any design.

Thank you for your consideration and I do hope you will be willing to work with me as I embark upon this process.

With sincere gratitude,
Tracy Singleton
2510 33rd Ave South
Owner, Birchwood Cafe

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