The Dane County Timebank is close to signing a lease with the city of Madison for a vacant apartment on Allied Drive. The timebank would pay the city $1 for the space, which it wants for its first retail store. Residents could earn credit by volunteering, then spend the "time dollars" on groceries, clothing and other items ("Timebank Idea Travels to Allied Drive," 7/31/08).
"It's not a done deal yet, but it's moving forward," says Stephanie Rearick, head of the Dane County Timebank.
The city was initially wary of letting the Timebank use the vacant apartment, since the building is scheduled for demolition next summer as part of Allied's redevelopment. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz also didn't want other groups to think they could get the same deal.
"He was concerned about setting a precedent for a neighborhood association or nonprofit using space like this, essentially for free," says Rachel Strauch-Nelson, the mayor's spokeswoman. But she says the mayor reviewed the proposal and decided it would benefit the neighborhood. "It's clear this is where they want to be, so we're working with them."
Rearick hopes to open a store by Oct. 30, and thinks having even a temporary site works great. "It's a pilot program," she says. "It's a great opportunity to work out the kinks before making a big investment."