By Seth Schmidt
Tracy continues to be considered as a site for a Hmong Community Cultural Center.
Khou Lor, representing the Project Uniting Southwest Hmong (PUSH), told the Tracy Economic Development Authority last week that Tracy meets many of the criteria for the new Hmong center. A potential site has been identified in Tracy, although no final decision has been made.
Because of cost considerations, Lor said that new construction has been ruled out in favor of starting small and growing with an existing building.
She presented a statement about the objectives of PUSH.
“We are passionate individuals looking to empower our Hmong community to embrace the strengths of our culture by a means of revitalizing, educating, and leadership mentoring. We strongly believe that by empowering our community to reach beyond its potential we will be able to derive development opportunities, functions, and commit working attributes throughout …Southwest Minnesota.”
PUSH volunteers, she said, want to establish a center that can fulfill several needs. But ideally, she explained the new cultural center would have space for future expansion and more features.
The long-range vision includes:
• Gallery/museum for preserving cultural artifacts, clothing and instruments.
• Conference and meeting space for “community project planning, development opportunities, and teaching/educating classes.”
• Gymnasium for after-school programs.
• Auditorium for theatrical community performances and New Year events.
• Space for party rentals and events.
• Land for growing produce, which can be sold in local markets.
• A small-business incubating hub for “cultural entrepreneurs” and small business owners.
• Commercial-grade kitchen.
• Office space for staff and general public use.
Lor stressed that the cultural center would be open to the general public, not just people of Hmong ethnicity. Involvement and suggestions from Tracy’s tradition population, she said, is welcome.
Mayor Steve Ferrazzano, who also serves on the EDA, said he’d like to sit in on PUSH’s next quarterly meeting scheduled for December. He invited the group to use City Hall for meeting space.
Lor indicated that PUSH continues to explore options for financing the project.
“It is still very early in the planning,” Lor told the Headlight-Herald Tuesday. “But we want to keep people informed.”