Energized: Revitalize Downtown Stayton developing projects, programs

August, 2018 Posted in Community

By Mary Owen

Last month, Revitalize Downtown Stayton got a neighborly handshake from Main Street.

On July 16, RDS participated in a national program that brought Sheri Stuart from Oregon Main Street and Mary Bosch from Marketek for two days to assess Stayton’s downtown, talk to and survey citizens, and make recommendations as to what direction to pursue next in each of the four focus areas: promotion, economic vitality, design and organization.

“We had some very lively and well-attended focus groups,” said Isaac Kort-Meade, program coordinator with Revitalize Downtown Stayton. “We had four focus groups, for city officials, property owners, business owners and community organizations. A total of
about 50 people attended among the four groups.”

Each group met with the Revitalize Downtown Stayton board to develop more concrete plans on how to create a better downtown, Kort-Meade said.

“Although we have not settled on anything yet, our basic overarching idea is to capitalize off the historic features we have in downtown, while emphasizing the eclectic and unique businesses and buildings in the area,” he said. “This will create a place that should attract all community members, from young people to families.”

Steve Poisson with Revitalize Downtown Stayton said, “One of our initial focus projects is getting people aware of our focus area. So while it may not be glamorous, the map of the area we are serving is very helpful.”

Stuart and Bosch will consolidate the ideas and outside research to provide RDS with more information and recommendations in the coming weeks, Kort-Meade said.

“We will then get another visit from them in about two months to see where we’ve gotten and finalize our plans,” he said. “Some of our big plans involve increasing our marketing and outreach efforts, and working on developing a high-quality grant proposal for building renovations for the $200,000 grant from OMS. We will continue to work with OMS to develop projects and plans over the next few months.”

Future projects include placing new benches and sign toppers downtown, which will go up in the next few weeks, and a mural for the Oddfellow’s building, Kort-Meade said.

“We are also planning an event for River Fusion 22 at the end of September, as well as the Ghost Tour and Chocolate Walk in October.”

Kort-Meade said the RDS Facebook page is the place for people who work downtown to hear about events and promotions for the area, as well as share ideas on a regular basis.

“It seems to be filling up pretty well so far,” he said.

Kort-Meade leaves his post July 31, and to fill his position, RDS is currently interviewing people from the University of Oregon RARE (Resource Assistance in Rural Environments) program that places people from all over the nation in Oregon positions. The new RARE program coordinator will start mid-September and occupy an office at the Brown House.

“Projects and goals for this year will be identified using the information gained by the Main Street visit,” Poisson said.

RDS will begin hosting a monthly Merchants Group networking meeting for any merchant in the “old” downtown area between Washington and Water, First and Third. The first meeting takes place at 5:15 p.m. on Aug. 28 at Moxieberry. For $5, attendees will get appetizers, and there will be a no-host bar.

“It’s about how our group can help support merchants with promotions, economic incentives, or anything to help businesses in the area grow and thrive,” Poisson said. “We want your input, and hope you will attend no matter what your business is in the area.”

For information, visit the Revitalize Downtown Stayton Facebook page.

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