The restoration process for Creston’s two-grain elevators is scheduled to take place sometime in March 2021, and the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) is seeking input from the community to determine possible future uses of the structures and the site that they are situated on.
“We are currently committed to doing a restoration right now; the exterior and up to the interior structurally,” said Mark Brunton, the CBT’s senior manager of delivery of benefits. “But we want to know what people are thinking about and what their interests are … We really want to know what people are thinking before anything more is considered.”
Until Dec. 14, Creston residents can share their ideas by visiting ourtrust.org/creston. The CBT has launched a thoughtexchange discussion platform that enables participants to share as many ideas as they want, and can also rate those shared by others.
“When anybody signs up for thoughtexchange, they may come up with some ideas and the next person who joins can see those ideas. Maybe that helps spark some ideas for them, so it builds organically,” said Brunton. “It’s almost like a community discussion in some ways. It’s very broad and we hope to get some very good ideas.”
One of the top-rated ideas submitted by a resident is converting the site into a climbing gym; implementing climbing walls both inside and outside of the grain-elevators, with an observation area at the top of each structure.
However, Brunton noted that it may take some time before submitted ideas are acted upon, and there’s a chance that top-rated proposals won’t be brought to fruition due to budget constraints.
“It’s not really intended to commit the Trust on what to do next. It’s more intended to inform; whatever happens next can be informed by this information,” he said.
In any event, he continued, the restoration will take place.
“We’re really focussed on doing that at the moment,” he said.
Much of the restoration focus is on preserving the red grain elevator, as Brunton said that is in far greater condition than its white counterpart. The future of the white grain elevator is hard to predict, he said.
“A lot depends on what comes out of thoughtexchange,” he said. “We are committed to clearing the land around it and sealing up the windows up to a couple of stories to help make it more resilient. Long-term, no decision has been made.”
The white elevator was built in 1935 and ceased operations in 1971, while the red one was built in 1936 and was closed in 1982. Both were used to collect, store and ship locally grown wheat, barley, oats and rye. They were purchased by the CBT in 2018.
Residents and passer-byers can expect to see the red elevator with a new roof, fresh sidings and refurbished windows once construction is done.
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