Northampton Economic Development Director Kris Tucker recently presented the Cape Charles Town Council with a resolution that would somehow create a small business incubator or community kitchen at the old middle school in Machipongo. Oddly, Mr. Tucker was not looking for financial support, but instead wanted moral support from Council for the proposal-essentially an acknowledgement that the old middle school was indeed a viable space for such an endeavor. At stake was a grant from the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission (coming with matching funds). According to Mr. Tucker, this could have the benefit of also allowing the county to retain the existing gym as well as the Northampton County Parks and Recreation basketball and volleyball programs, as well as some summer programming. Town Council approved the resolution.
The next steps could be interesting. What role the County will actually be playing as an agent to accelerate the growth and success of small, entrepreneurial companies through business support resources and services could be interesting. While they will be providing the physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections will more than likely have to be developed outside.
A Community Kitchen (sometimes known as collective kitchens) is a community-based, and sometimes commodity based cooking program where small groups of people come together to prepare meals for their families; they sometimes function as outreach into the community. With some kitchen facilities already at the Northampton Middle School, this could become viable alternative for the County as it struggles to come to terms with the fate of the old school.