In my experience with the Toronto, Canada hacker- and maker-space community, and big part of a starting a successful new space is about community outreach and open events.
I helped consult on and run a number of drop-in events for spaces back in Toronto that really helped us connect with the local community. I found that the more general, open events worked best early on as you won't yet know exactly what your local community needs.
Some of the most effective events in engaging people were:
* DIY repair clinics
* Consult-a-hacker/maker events (hacker "office hours")
* Beginner-friendly skills workshops (soldering, sewing machines, coding, etc)
Any event that can be run such that it's cheap or free to attendees and which can be run as a "drop-in" (with attendees able to show up at any time during the event window) work wonders. There are many people who are _interested_ in these skills but barriers like price and scheduling may be blockers for them.
I found the the "office hours" concept worked really well because it gave people a very low barrier to entry. They'd show up and ask questions about very diverse topics. Some had questions about their ongoing projects, others wanted to know how and where they could learn various things.
Although in my experience we rarely had more than one or two experts available to run these office hours each week, we all knew each other's areas of expertise and could put people in touch with one another whenever we weren't able to directly consult or assist.
These types of events also require very little equipment, so you can jumpstart the discourse with the community right away and drive your acquisition of the gear based on what your community really wants.
In any case, if these types of events are of interest to you I'd be the first to volunteer to help organize and run such things.