Staying focused: Downtown Stayton group revamps name, keeps priorities

May, 2018 Posted in Community, Other

By Mary OwenScreen Shot 2018-05-01 at 12.25.42 PM

Bye-bye Friends of Old Town Stayton and hello  – different name, same focus.

“There are those that liked the reference to Old Town,” said Steve Poisson, vice-president or the organization, “but the merchants wanted a clearer, more modern title that expressed our goals. Since we are there to improve the economic vitality of the downtown area, we made the change.”

Program coordinator Isaac Kort-Meade assures RDS’s primary goal remains making downtown a better place, one that brings shoppers, visitors and businesses to the Stayton area.

“All of that starts by creating a message which is accessible to all,” Kort-Meade said. “We’re changing the name to better reflect our mission. The name ‘Revitalize Downtown Stayton’ helps us better communicate our message. We want to make sure that we are reaching the largest number of people we can, both in Stayton and across the state.”

Kort-Meade said the group has learned a lot about Stayton in the last few years – periods of growth and decline, the sense of pride that locals have in their town.
He credited Stayton with a mix of longtime residents and newcomers, allowing for a wide range of expertise in crafting promotions, events and improvements for downtown.

“But it all starts from branding ourselves in an interesting and understandable way,” he said. “We’re not changing anything that we are doing. This name change is simply a chance for us to step back, look at all we’ve accomplished, and think about the future. We will spend more energy and time working with businesses and reaching out to the broader community to improve what we’re already doing.”

Press releases are a big part of the RDS rollout, Kort-Meade said.

“We’ve started a new website as well,” he added. “We are also finishing up some flower baskets for downtown, so expect that soon. And we will be a part of a bunch of events over the summer, so stay tuned.”

Revitalize Downtown Stayton will remain on track with the Main Street Model, a nationally recognized system that FOTS followed. The model has a 25-year track record of successfully revitalizing declining downtowns, RDS reported.

“Our local chapter, Oregon Main Street, has helped many small towns across Oregon revitalize their downtowns,” Kort-Meade said. “If you think of the best small downtowns in the state – Astoria, Oregon City, Silverton – all of them are products of the Main Street approach that we are taking. This approach helps communities for a downtown association, create a structure, and implement changes in a positive and productive way.”

Kort-Meade said four committees were created to implement various parts of the program.

“The Design Committee works on physical improvements in the downtown area,” he said. “Economic Vitality helps to implement changes to help businesses thrive, and Organization works on the back end of RDS. With this approach, we can organize to address pressing issues in downtown and plan for the future.”

RDS’s next big project is putting up street-sign toppers,

“We will also start working on some directional signs to help bring people downtown,” Kort-Meade said.

RDS is always looking for people to become a business member or supporter of the organization, as well as corporate sponsors and volunteers.

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