The Building’s Bones: Foundations for Its Future


The first time you look around inside, you may notice little more than its skeleton, the bones of a building that’s housed local history and the day-to-day lives of generations.

Look a little deeper, though, and the plan begins to reveal itself — a plan to bring Cottage Grove’s Bank Building back to its status as a hub of both commercial activity and stylish living downtown.

Len Blackstone loves to talk about the plan. He and his wife, Deb, recently purchased the Bank Building, which is located at the corner of Sixth and Main Streets. They’re committed to its complete renovation, and these days a crew of up to 13 works hard to help make it happen. Though the Blackstones have owned the building for a relatively short time, Len has already given countless tours, most recently to sizable groups at Cottage Grove’s Downtown Art Walks.

And where tour participants first see only a wood frame, he’s delighted to point out the floor plans of six upstairs apartments, each unique and possessing its own charm. The common gathering area upstairs also gets lots of attention, and in time it’ll be a place for residents to get together, build community and make memories.

Downstairs, at the outermost corner of Sixth and Main, an office hums along where a restaurant will one day serve goodies. Next door, Juanita’s Latina store already does a brisk business. There’ll be office spaces of various sizes on this floor. These can serve as business incubators and economic engines in addition to valuable places downtown for people to gather, conduct business and dream big dreams.

One day soon, Bank Building residents will step out onto Main Street and discover the very best of small-town living, downtown — truly the best of both worlds. Business owners will cater to locals and countless visitors, get to know them and form the kind of bonds that enhance each other’s lives.

For now, though, there is the plan — a dream, its believers, and the will to work hard to make it come true.

Look a little deeper, though, and the plan begins to reveal itself — a plan to bring Cottage Grove’s Bank Building back to its status as a hub of both commercial activity and stylish living downtown.

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