"We want to know what other people think," Heirigs said. "We've had some people showing interest in buying.
"In general, the community has a special affection for that part of town. We're trying to find out what they want" [Chuck Clement, "Open House Planned for Former Elementary School," Madison Daily Leader, 2008.09.17].
The building is a totally private project now. Heirigs could do pretty much whatever he wanted with the place. Yet he recognizes that the Washington building, just like the other two old elementary schools the district divested itself of this decade, still occupy a special place in Madison's community psyche. Instead of plowing ahead with his own plans, he includes the general public in the discussion of how to make that old landmark serve not just his pocketbook but the neighborhood. He and his business partners may still proceed with a plan of their own, but the mere act of holding an open house to listen to the community is admirable.
So stop by the old school on your way home from the farmer's market tonight. Check out the old classrooms and the renovation proposals, and share your thoughts with Tom.
But watch out: next thing you know, people will start thinking that they supposed to speak up, that their opinions matter, and that Madison really is a democracy. Imagine that!