A very enthusiastic group of downtown merchants and property owners have come together to form “Baker City Downtown”. This non-profit organization will be following the Main Street Approach, a comprehensive method to downtown commercial district revitalization.
“Shortly after I began working in Community Development, I started hearing interest from downtown merchants who wanted to know more about the Oregon Main Street Program,” stated Robin Nudd, Community Development Coordinator for the City of Baker City. In February Nudd set up a community meeting with Sheri Stuart, Program Director for the Oregon Main Street Program. Over 30 people attended and overwhelmingly supported the idea of getting involved in the program.
After that meeting volunteers signed up to serve as the Interim Board and work began on creating a vision and mission statement and draft bylaws for the new organization.
“A huge thank you needs to go out to the Interim Board. They put in so much time and energy–we really couldn’t have done it without them,” stated Nudd. Interim Board members included Tori Brown, Shelly Cutler, David Kassien, Jenny Mowe-Joseph, Tom Novak, Jamie Ostrander, Carol Phillips, and Kate Reid.
“We really wanted to develop an organization that would give businesses a voice, and that would help coordinate efforts to spur economic development in Baker City as well as support the institutions of downtown that have prevailed here,” stated Jenny Mowe-Joseph.
With draft bylaws and a vision and mission statement complete, the group held elections on April 19th. “We had a great turnout, over 40 property and business owners turned out,” reported Nudd. That evening the group elected Tori Brown, Bev Calder, Heather Isaacson, Jenny Mowe-Joseph and Rick Stout to lead the organization.
The newly elected BCD Board is looking forward to reaching out to prospective members and hearing what downtown business and property owners’ goals are and how an organization such as this can help support their businesses.
“As downtown business owners, we all share a common desire—to see our downtown thrive. There was a need for organization, structure, and new energy, which is exactly what this group has. Each of our board members brings a different attribute to BCD, along with a lot of passion for this town and its success. We have a good vibe going and we have a lot of support from the community so far. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish.” Tori Brown, President of BCD.
Later this month the Board of Directors will be attending training provided through the Oregon Main Street Program. Soon after the Board will be holding a “Meet and Greet” where business owners, property owners and community members will have the opportunity to learn about the 4 Point approach—the guiding framework for the program.
For more information and to sign up to receive updates please visit: http://bakercitydowntown.com