Town Economic Development manager Mike Korman was at The Station today for the launch of sessions to celebrate Small Business Week.
With the town only receiving the keys from the contractors yesterday, The Station, located in downtown Cochrane on Railway St., is now being readied to be opened to the public to fulfill multiple roles.
The Station is the transit hub, an access point for town services, provides meeting space, has public washrooms, and is an Innovation Centre, all in one tight 7,700 sq. ft. package.
Korman says they are targeting early November for the opening.
"For the next couple of weeks, we're working on getting the technology in place. We're working with Finance to get the administration portion open for bill payments and that sort of thing, so we see early November as an opportunity to get going forward."
In the meantime, details on programming and governance of the building's facilities are being finalized and will be brought back to town council shortly for review.
"We hope to have something in the next couple of months around the programming that we're going to provide to start with, the process and procedures on how to book space or utilize the space for the business community, but ultimately it really is about business-forward focus at the station."
Korman is excited about the potential its Innovation Centre offers to incubate ideas that could help expand Cochrane's economy.
"We're looking forward to working with our business partners to create programming, to help the businesses thrive, new businesses starting from the ground floor, that's grassroots approach, to be able to say, hey, we've given our businesses a chance, we've provided them programming, and we've launched them and made them part of the business in Cochrane, and that's ultimately what our goal is for the Innovation space."
During council's committee-of-a-whole meeting last night, Mayor Jeff Genung was concerned the role of the Innovation Centre isn't clear in the minds of residents and that they need to enhance their communications.
He says when he speaks with people about the centre, the light bulb goes off. It's not a new idea he admits but believes it feels new to many people.
"I hope it's steep in incubators and startups and that we're really making the most and maximizing the room that we were able to afford to build, given all of the barriers with COVID and the initial vision that we went from to where we are today, that we're able to take the small space and really prove to the community that this is an awesome idea that is going to develop into something bigger someday in the future."
The at-grade pedestrian crossing over the CP tracks between Railway St. and the Historic Downtown will also be open soon.