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The adventure of Grisù in pills

Towards the end of 2012, a cultural association was created in Ferrara. The promoters are Fabrizio Casetti e Maria Livia Brunelli, gathering a core of friends and expert consultants around the idea. The goal is to find spaces to be assigned to small businesses or creative enterprise projects. The event is represented by the former Firefighter's Caserma, in the historic center, near the train station and at the edge of the Garden District, one of the city's problematic quarters. The former barracks, which has been in disuse since 2004, except for the minor presence of workers in the Province responsible for the public maintenance works of the institution's estate, is a two-storey building of 2,500 square meters within a total area of 4,500 sq. m., around the largest square in the entire historical center. The structural integrity of the building is not worrying as the degradation is only superficial. The Grisù Association, founded by 12 members, obtains the use of the property as a free prefabricated commodity, since it was still on the list of public assets to be disposed of, despite two abandoned auctions for a valuation of 6 million Euro. Having obtained the building, the Association publishes a call for young entrepreneurs or young people with creative ideas and enterprise projects Despite the enthusiasm of promoters and businesses, the political courage of the Provincial Government, which is the proprietor of the building and the municipal administration responsible for the procedures, the venture is immediately complicated: legal problems (avoiding censure by the Court of Accounts for a supposed 'damage to revenue'); regulatory issues; urban functions and destinations that do not coincide with the original ones; problems of agility and standardization; problems of reactivating utilities and managing the new 'business condominium'; all in the absence of public resources and with great effort, both physical and financial, from the pioneering companies and associations. In 2013, the so-called abolition of the provinces also began, starting a phase of uncertainty about the future of the former barracks and the management of any financial resources. In 2015, the Emilia-Romagna Region, through a POR / Fesr announced declaration on the EU's Smart Specialization Objectives, provided significant funding for the structural recovery of some parts of the former barracks building, to which is added a contribution to the Province, owner of the property, for post-earthquake repairs. The call, however, stipulates that the funding can be used only in favor of companies or consortia of the enterprise, a condition requiring consolidation of the divisons developed so far between the Spazio Grisù Association, space and condominium association and individual companies. In 2016, the Consorzio Factory Grisù was created, an authentic consortium of companies that united the various previously separated functions within the hands of a cultural association. Thus Consorzio Factory Grisù began to manage the building and in 2016, together with the Province, the project for structural roof repairs and access to the upper part of the barracks was developed. During this period, the Consortium publishing two new calls for new businesses to be installed in the Factory. At the beginning of spring 2017, one of the companies set up in the Factory created and realized a new photographic festival, Riaperture, which was an immediate success. Thanks to funding obtained from the Municipality of Ferrara on an ANCI call, new resources are allocated for the upgrading of the internal courtyard of Grisù. The Consortium itself manages the financing and implementation of the project, completed in June 2017. From that moment on, Factory Grisù begins to be fully utilized by the city, with a calendar of events that involves the realization of various initiatives sponsored by the City, Arci and, in the case of RiCrea Festival, University, Chamber of Commerce, Municipality and other establishments of the territory. Today, the Factory Grisù Consortium consists of 14 companies, already largely established. Over the period of 2017, by the end of the works, space will be inhabited daily by at least thirty workers and entrepreneurs in the creative cultural industry, and the calls will make available other spaces for the entry of new businesses, with particular attention to those of young people.