Coworking photo for online

PUNXSUTAWNEY — People passionate about Punxsutawney are uniting to foster and initiate jobs and camaraderie among area business owners.

A subcommittee of PRIDE — Punxsutawney Revitalization: Investing, Developing, Enhancing — is initiating the development of a coworking space in downtown Punxsutawney through an online survey. PRIDE was developed around 2005 and focuses on uniting residents, business people, organizations and community leaders, while working to revitalize the area.

“Coworking” is considered the sharing of a workspace. It began in 1995 in New York City, with flexible desks that could be “rented for short periods of time,” according to PRIDE’s newsletter. Coworking allows people to pay a membership fee to use a desk, office machines and internet and work alongside others like themselves.

If people in the area are working at home and wish to have access to an office, the coworking space could foster or initiate jobs in the area, said Marlene Lellock, director of the Punxsutawney Weather Center and PRIDE board member.

The survey will help organizers determine if people in the area are interested in the concept, Lellock said.

The project would provide a place where people with technology or freelancing jobs can come and work with the use of resources and no distractions, Lellock said, rather than working from their kitchen table.

Sub-committee member Patrick Fleckenstein said coworking is a way to bring people out of the woodwork, too, who may not have other options.

“I’ve heard about this person or that person who works for a company that’s out of town, or even out of state,” he says in PRIDE’s newsletter. “They’re doing their work from their kitchen table. Maybe the kids are home making noise, or the dog is barking, and they wish they had a space to go to concentrate and make phone calls.

“These are the people we are trying to uncover.”

Coworking is spreading like wildlife, since it enables employees to work from just about anywhere, the newsletter says. Some could have a job in Pittsburgh, but work from Punxsutawney. Many millennials also prefer to work for smaller or start-up companies, or be their own boss, the newsletter says.

“This would be a way for us to foster technology jobs and online businesses,” Lellock said.

Other members of the subcommittee working on the space include online business owners Thom and Cambria Pratt, Punxsutawney Memorial Library Director Jessica Church and local business consultant Richard Mowrey.

To access the survey, visit www.punxsutawney.com and click on the home page. For more information about the coworking space project, call Church at 814-938-5020 or Lellock at 814-938-1000.

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