FLORENCE – A Bitterroot Valley man has a vision and a plan to create a community center in Florence to suit everyone in the spirit of health and happiness.
Silas Torrey is ready to share his Bitterroot paradise– which he calls Bread and Roses– on his four-acre piece of land just off U.S. Highway 93 South in Florence where he’s building a multi-faceted community center.
“So when I started this whole idea they thought I was nuts and now 100-percent of the people know what I’m doing and they’re really 100-percent behind me," Torrey said.
He’s already begun construction on the 15,000-thousand square foot complex for basketball, volleyball, rollerblading — with more basketball courts outside. But that’s the beginning of his ambitious dream.
“We’ve got some nature walks in the woods out there, a place where people can come and actually make it a destination; maybe have a little meal, to read a book, converse with friends to play pickleball or whatever," Torrey told MTN News.
He also plans on using his existing kitchens to provide simple and healthy meals at the center.
Torrey is asking the public to come take a look and give their input maybe help with design concepts.
“So I want feedback, not only for the exercise but also I’d like help and ideas on how to finish the inside of the building and what would be the main uses. So that’s what this meeting is all about," Torrey said.
While he plans to provide the center for free, Torrey is looking for a little financial backing for the final piece of the project and to help with operating costs in the future.
It’s a big undertaking for one man, but he believes in spreading the wellness.
“What I’m doing now is what I did for the first 40 years of my life, period. I’ve tried to encourage people with nutrition and good diet, good exercise, some social skills," Torrey said.
"I’m not the greatest social guy”, he said laughing. "But it’s just what I’ve always done and I’m just bringing everything — plus a little more wisdom — together. And with a $1.5 million piece of property to work with.”
A meeting will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Bread and Roses in Florence on U.S. Highway 93. More information about the meeting — and the project — can be found here.