By: Chrysa Keenon | Echo
The Bridge will be opening a second location in Marion inside of the new community hub, The Place. The Place will be opening in March 2018 and will be a location for community connection, the arts, education and social action. The project is to be undertaken by Catherine Kerton-Johnson, owner and founder of The Bridge in Upland.
According to Kerton-Johnson, "Around 2,000 people work in the downtown area (of Marion), and there are very few options for them in terms of hospitality. We decided that having The Bridge rent a portion of space in The Place would be a great way to bring people into the building daily, expose them to the vision of The Place and get them involved and a way to bring some steady income to meet the costs of The Place when we are first opening."
The Place's building was donated as a gift to the Kerton-Johnsons' nonprofit, the Ephesus Initiative. The Ephesus Initiative focuses on human rights and religious freedom for people of all faiths and will be funding The Place. The Bridge restaurant itself will act as a for-profit in its sister location, but The Place will provide many communal services to the area such as dinner-dance evenings, cooking classes, healthy eating classes and catering services.
The Place will be partnering with a number of other organizations within Marion, such as the Committee for Quality of Life and Place, Kinwell Academy, Main Street Marion, The Refinery and other local businesses. According to Nicholas Kerton-Johnson, the Ephesus team is planning a state-run grant crowdfunding program, a Patronicity Campaign, which will match the money they raise up to $50,000. Formal funding will be launched in a campaign in early September.
Grant County Economic Growth Council Executive Director Tim Eckerle relayed the council has not been asked for assistance in funding the campaign, but assured assistance would be provided if asked.
"We want to provide a beautiful space for talented creatives, educators and social builders to connect with the under-served in Grant County," Nicholas Kerton-Johnson said. "We see ourselves as a connecting hub for people to find whole-person thriving through the arts, theater, media, gardening, food and healthy relationships."
The Place will be located at 714 Adams St. in Marion.