Creative Ideas For Empty Wyoming KMART Buildings [Commentary]
A recent announcement declared that yet another KMart is closing in Wyoming.
The City of Cheyenne has already lost theirs. The KMart in Sheridan is next. That leaves only three for the entire state, Jackson, Gillette and Laramie. Walmart, by comparison, has 12 locations, and they are all going strong.
Leaving a big empty building like that is a big deal for a small town. Especially in a state like Wyoming which can be prone to so much harsh weather, we do a lot indoors.
So what does a Wyoming town do when a big empty building like the old KMart is just sitting around taking up space?
I asked around. The first suggestion I got was, "Burn it to the ground." Well, okay, we could do that but I'd rather get some use out of the old place.
"Indoor go-Kart racing," was another suggestion. That's better. Denver has one. Why can't we? In Cheyenne, there was an item on a penny tax increase propitiation to open an indoor sports facility, so kids had a place to run and play during the harsh winter months. The propitiation failed. So why not just use the old K-Mart building? Plenty of room for kids to run and play in there.
Some towns have been able to bring new retail chains into the old buildings, some have even turned them into mini-malls.
Those are great ideas that actually work. But let's be more creative.
Big open indoor buildings like that are perfect for indoor yodeling conventions. Just think of the echo. Imagine driving by the old building and hearing the cry of some spry Wyoming/Norwegian Cowboy yodeling at the top of his lungs.
How about a restaurant opening the longest buffet on the planet? The early bird special alone would help clear out Perkins for the rest of us on Sunday morning.
Since birds love to build nests in big buildings like KMarts, we've all seen them, why not just open a new tourist attraction. A massive indoor bird sanctuary.
Finally, and this is rather dark, but, how about a massive homeless shelter for all those out of work KMart employees?
Whatever we do with it, it would be a shame to let that much indoor space go to waste. Let's find a creative way to use it.