MILLEDGEVILLE — Summit Communiversity, the new name for the Milledgeville-Baldwin Communiversity, expects to finalize the agreement allowing work to begin to bring new life to the old Shaw manufacturing facility.
Jimmy Jordan, attorney for the City of Milledgeville, has confirmed with David Sinclair, chairman of Solar Zones LLC, that he should have a draft of a lease-purchase agreement within two weeks.
As has always been the intent, Summit Communiversity will build out the space as needed. Among the first tenants will be The Milledgeville Players, Solar Zones LLC, and an extended presence of Georgia’s Old Capital Museum.
Following the successful model of Featherbone Communiversity in Gainesville, Ga., Summit Communiversity has worked closely with Featherbone’s founder Gus Whalen.
In September, the board of Summit Communiversity and members of the Milledgeville community traveled to Gainesville to sign a Declaration of Interdependence joining the National Association of Communiversities (NAC).
Co-founders of the association are Featherbone, Bonner County Communiversity of Sandpoint, Idaho, Chaffey College of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. and Community Futures Boundary, Grand Forks, British Columbia, Canada.
Summit Communiversity board members are Mike Couch, Dr. Renée Fontenot, Charlotte “CC” Sinclair, Sherri Malone, John Geist and Fiona Geist.
The board has been working with a variety of organizations across the state learning best practices and assessing how the lessons of others communities match with Milledgeville’s needs. After recent visits to College Park and Lawrenceville members of the board returned excited about mirroring opportunities to match the skills of the students from the three colleges in Milledgeville.
A trip to another community proved valuable for the lessons shared on what not to do.
“It’s been incredible,” Sinclair said, “of the things people will share if you ask.”
The mission of Summit Communiversity is to provide a shared space for a wide range of activities including theater, arts and entrepreneurial innovation. As a community resource, Summit Communiversity will provide inspiration, incubation and growth to foster learning, education and the development of economic potential for our community.
The venture is committed to social entrepreneurship and economic development through the matching of assets, knowledge, skills, and resources in our community.
Communiversities are committed to bringing communities together in unique ways that are non-political and aggregates community educational assets for the long-term benefit of the entire community.
The NAC will hold its inaugural meeting in Sandpoint, Idaho in July. Board members and representatives of Summit Communiversity will be attending to learn and build relationships with other like-minded groups.
Of great interest will be the planned visit to Quest Aircraft and Tamarack Aerospace.
“I want to learn more about the Bonner Communiversity and Idaho P-TECH program that prepares high school students for jobs in their local aerospace companies,” said Fontenot. “Clearly, there are lessons we can bring home.”
Since May 2013, the City of Milledgeville and Solar Zones began public-private negotiations for the repurposing of the old Shaw Building as the Communiversity hub.
The city entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), assigning the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Development Authority as the Shaw lease conduit Oct. 4 of last year because the city can’t legally lease the building.
Originally, Sinclair was looking to lease-purchase the 93,000 square foot building for $450,000.
The Communiversity will form as a 501(c)(3).