The Dennehotso community is creating vast capital improvement opportunities to engage current community members and attract future generations by creating a more sustainable, engaging community for those who call it home. The community has adopted the Smart Growth system which promotes better housing, transportation, economic development and preservation of environmental quality. To kick off this new initiative, three acres along US 160 have been reserved for the new Desert Meadows Convenience Store and Laundromat.
DMA’S NEW APPROACH TO CONVENIENCE STORE DESIGN
The initial planning effort for the Desert Meadows Convenience Store (C-store) took place in September, 2015. The Dyron Murphy Architects (DMA) team, along with members of the community, the owner, and tenant met in Window Rock, AZ to discuss the design direction for the new C-store. Opportunities were identified for a new, healthy, and community centered approach to C-store design, which drastically departs from the standard design.
The Desert Meadows C-store is being designed to serve as a farmers market, as well as a convenience store. Although this concept deviates from the norm, it supports the farming population of the community, and enhances the community’s vision for growth. Dennehotso has a high water table and very rich soil making it an ideal location to grow delicious produce. The farmers market will be a place where people have the opportunity to talk with likeminded individuals in their very own community while choosing healthier, more sustainable foods. The client has even made mention of wanting to change the name from the ‘Desert Meadows C-Store’ to the ‘Dennehotso Market’, to further reinforce their desire to build community engagement.
CONNECTING THE COMMUNITY
There is specific space set aside as an added part of the farmers market designated solely for medicinal herbs and plants which would be available for purchase for tourists and residents. The community also stressed their desire for the new C-store to have the authentic design of traditional trading posts, which have always encouraged the same sense of community kinship that the people of Dennehotso are reaching for. Covered porches will be located at the front of the building and will feature colored and stamped concrete. This will give the appearance of wood to reinforce the trading post design which is common to the area.
The new laundromat will also serve as a new hub where people can share in community connectedness. DMA has been actively working to foster the idea of community growth and engagement within the design. We are scheduled to have all construction documents completed early June, 2016, with construction scheduled to begin in the fall.