What's Going on Around Grailville

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    The Grail

    Not that I think any of you are likely to have difficulty with these reminiscences, but …

    • Remember when, back in 2008, the membership of the Grail voted to allow the Grail to sell some land to Heartland Ecovillage?

    • Remember the Strategic Plan we adopted in Spring 2009 in which we committed, among other things, to “Uphold the work of the Centers as an essential work of the Grail?”

    • Remember how at the General Assembly last fall Bonnie Hendricks shared with us all her excitement about the Transition movement and what it might mean for the Grail to use our own resources to move into alignment with ways of living that have inspired and sustained us for years (e.g. Permaculture)?

    Well, clearly, lots of members do, and so does the Council. Perhaps as a result, a number of ideas, initiatives, plans and projects have surfaced recently and we want you to be aware of what’s going on so you can let us know what you think.

    Specifically real estate has become a topic of interest in and around Grailville. Meg Bruck and Beth Wasmer served as skilled and diligent negotiators for the Grail throughout their terms on Council and the National Leadership Team. With their Heartland counterparts they laid very valuable groundwork and negotiated agreements concerning how the parties will move forward on any development. Last fall, a sub-Group of the Heartland Ecovillage approached Council asking that we consider a proposal for a smaller development as Phase 1 of the ecovillage. Phase 1, as they deem themselves, consists of Mary Lu Lageman, Lenie Schaareman, Shirley Beaupre and Michele Bertaux. They propose initially purchasing four acres of land on which to construct a single, four-unit multi-family home with common area. Later on, the group envisions more development, but this initiative provides the best opportunity for the project to get off the ground. After talking with Mary Lu and Lenie, who represent this subgroup, we have encouraged them to develop a plan for submission, based on the earlier agreements. Clearly, all the specifics of a site plan, financing and purchase agreement have yet to be worked out, but at the moment there is renewed excitement about the prospect that an ecovillage at Grailville may yet become a reality.

    Also last fall Grail members Fran Martin and Ruth Gallant decided that they were ready to make some changes in their lives and asked whether the Grail would be interested in buying their house, located adjacent to Grailville just behind Tidings. Obviously, many factors affect the final decision on such a question, but pros and cons, what-ifs and how-tos are all being explored even as I write.
    Why might the Grail be interested in owning this property?
    • Its location makes it feel like part of Grailville already (as it once was);
    • As we pursue initiatives to repopulate Grailville with people looking to work on the land or build other initiatives, including transition, we need to be able to make housing available without destroying the retreat center capabilities;
    • Perhaps there’s an income potential if we rent all or part of it out;
    • The house is in good shape and has a flexible layout; part of it might even be useful in providing additional meeting facilities for Tidings.
    Some of the questions that have been identified include:
    • We are not the most well-endowed of organizations; is this where we will get the most bang for our bucks?
    • How do we assure that maintenance and upkeep don’t overwhelm our capacity at Grailville?
    • Do we have the creative capacity to steward such an additional asset?

    I’m sure you can imagine the what-if and how-to scenarios being discussed.

    Finally, you know from the GA and the previous issues of Gumbo that Bonnie Hendricks is enthusiastic about the Transition Movement and has been hired to explore the potential to use Grailville’s rich resources in a Transition context to realize a vision of Grailville not only as a National Center of the Grail but as a little village, a regional hub. She expands on this vision below and the work she’s doing. If the response at the GA to her presentation is any indicator, lots of Grail members are eager indeed to find out more about this process.

    What do you think of these ideas or developments? We’re listening. Let us know! Add your voice to these discussions! You can call me at (617) 227-5431 or email me, mkf@puck61.net, or contact Noreen at the national office (513) 683-5750 or noreen@www.grail-us.org. Thanks for being involved!

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