Why Concrete matters

By Jason Miller
Posted 6.10.12

Does Concrete matter? Stephanie Morgareidge thinks so—and she believes she’s not alone.

Morgareidge, who moved to the Concrete area in 2006, has begun a project that aims to focus on all the good things Concrete has to offer. She calls it the “Why Concrete Matters” campaign.

“Why Concrete Matters” is brilliant in its simplicity. Citizens think of Concrete-area places they’d miss if they were gone. They contact Morgareidge via e-mail at morgareidge@frontier.com to set up a time to meet at that location. Once there, Morgareidge hands them a large sign that says, “This place matters.” They hold the sign, smile pretty, Morgareidge snaps their photo, and posts it online at www.concretematters.weebly.com.

Spark of awareness
Morgareidge thought of the idea after a conversation with Mount Vernon Downtown Association Executive Director Georgiann Dustin and Concrete’s pro bono revitalization consultant, Eric Archuletta, in January. Dustin told a story about similar signs placed in downtown Mount Vernon businesses’ windows that proved to be a contributing factor in bringing the city’s Lincoln Theatre back to life.

“It got me thinking about our commu-nity and all the places I would miss if they went away,” said Morgareidge. She’d been analyzing her spending habits and how they could be draining money from the local businesses she loved. “I thought, what kind of spark can we create to make people more aware of these places and how their decisions affect them?”

Morgareidge launched the Web site in February and snapped her first photo, of the Upper Skagit Library, in April. She recently filled the library’s youth programs position formerly held by Beverly Richmond. Following that first photo, she added Concrete Theatre and Annie’s Pizza to the collection, and will photograph the East County Resource Center on May 8.

A cumulative effect
Morgareidge hopes the idea will snowball the way it did in Mount Vernon, with many businesses posting the signs in their front windows. She wants to end up with dozens of photos, which she’ll compile into a collage for display during Cascade Days in August.

“There are places we are all attached to in some way,” she said. “There’s an inclusive nature to this: Youth, adults, seniors, children—everyone can get involved in it.”

Early indications are that the idea has potential. Morgareidge said when she posted the first photo online, she got 158 hits in one day, with people contacting her from outside Concrete, wanting her to add locations from their town to the Web site.

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