Bridget Thornton, City of Dillon Downtown Coordinator, and Stephanie Mitchell, City of Dillon Main Street Development Committee organization chair, presented the Downtown Development action plan to the Dillon City Council at the July meeting.
Mitchell summarized the plan for the council who was also presented a written plan.
The committee’s vision for downtown Dillon is building a vibrant, attractive, and culturally inclusive Main Street that celebrates business excellence and welcomes innovation.
Their mission statement is “Downtown, City of Dillon is devoted to enhancing our quality of life by working to improve the appearance of our Main Street, establishing partnerships throughout our communities, pursuing progressive concepts for economic evolution, and fostering a live-work-play culture.”
Their tagline is “Embracing The Future.”
Their priorities for the 2018-2019 fiscal year are:
1. We will work to pursue funding opportunities (public and private) to make Main Street more appealing, increase our quality-affordable housing inventory, improve pedestrian-bike accessibility and collaborate with business/property owners on Main Street to improve their buildings.
2. Encourage positive momentum through partnerships with our community and local organizations while branding Main Street as a live-work-play community.
3. Increase safety and security in the downtown corridor while creating a more walk-friendly experience in our Downtown and surrounding communities.
4. Work to explore business transition, expansion, and entrepreneurial development while implementing creative uses of space in our existing structures.
5. Attract people to the Main Street via events and promotions and adopt practices that will appeal to a multigenerational culture.
The Main Street Development Committee holds monthly meetings focusing on training, professional development, expanding funding resources, and reports to the council with quarterly updates.
There are four subcommittee groups within this volunteer committee including the design committee, the organization committee, the economic vitality committee, and the promotion committee.
The committees along with their purposes and goals are:
Purpose: To encourage improvement of the Main Street’s physical appearance.
• Assist in efforts to encourage Downtown property owners to improve their buildings
• Encourage design assistance from Main Street Approach program.
• Make recommendations for Building Façade Grant & Up-Fir Grant programs.
• Explore how to better connect to and from the surrounding neighborhoods of Downtown while improving our walkability score and addressing safety concerns.
• Support wayfinding signage projects, beatification projects and locate sites for green spaces.
Purpose: To establish a strong Main Street organization that utilizes a growing number of participants in the implementation and funding of the program.
• Engage organizations, agencies, residents, religious institutions, merchants, etc. to partner with this committee.
• Recruit sponsors and volunteers for this board & Main Street events.
• Create a Main Street Building & Business Inventory–Directory.
• Host Business After Hours Education Classes – June 2018.
• Sponsor fundraisers and other activities to raise revenue for the committee.
Economic Vitality Committee:
Purpose: To strengthen and broaden the economic base of the Main Street corridor.
• Pursue relationships for private investment on Main Street.
• Recruit prospective business and entrepreneurs for Main Street.
• Mentor businesses by helping them expand, transition, or become an entrepreneur.
• Make recommendations for future business Incentives for location in Main Street.
• Implement recommendations for our Retail Recruitment Plan.
Purpose: To market the Main Street district by establishing a unified image and encouraging an exciting variety of activities for the community.
• Assist with creating a cohesive design of Downtown Development marketing materials.
• Create Main Street Minute Videos, Facebook posts, events, etc. that promote the efforts of this committee.
• Participate in our annual events.
• Advocate for promotional media, apps, websites, etc.
• Work and promote all events on Main Street.
Their plans for the future of Main Street are mixed use space including retail, office, housing, restaurant, professional services, co-working spaces, small business incubator spaces, green spaces, and cutting edge appropriate use of available resources. They plan to win the support of business owners, building owners, and citizens as well as the city’s leadership team building visual unity and connectivity to our major thoroughfares to help increase foot traffic on Main Street therefore increasing economic vitality as well as variety for visitors, citizens, and tourists. We are constantly seeking funding opportunities through private, grant, and other available resources.
Their accomplishments this fiscal year include becoming an approved Opportunity Zone destination, providing façade grants for nine buildings and two Upfit grants, held a new Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, continued to have great success with Celebrate Main Street, are having pop-up music events at the fountain, and are currently conducting a small business workshop series for education of current and prospective entrepreneurs.
Their future plans are to apply for funding for a downtown Dillon master plan, establish partnership with local industries to help with downtown projects, and continue with the façade and Upfit grants. They have a Paint The Town campaign where they help find supplies for those buildings that need paint the most. They created an available building list with square footage noted for prospective new businesses. They plan to create a marketing campaign for prospective businesses to locate downtown. They would like to create promotional materials for public parking, establish a community calendar to highlight area happenings, and quantify results for future grant and funding sources. They plan to create a downtown business directory for business recruitment and host pop-up events for retail events and prospective tenants.
Their desired outcomes are:
1. To create a successful Downtown Dillon, Main Street Program by having a vibrant downtown corridor. In this corridor, we plan to have mixed-used spaces that include retail spaces, office spaces, downtown housing, more restaurants, professional services, co-working spaces, incubator spaces and other new, innovative uses for the downtown buildings and open spaces.
2. We will accomplish this by winning the support of the Main Street stakeholders–the business merchants, property owners, the citizens and the City’s Leadership team. Our stakeholders will take actionable steps to improve the appearance of their buildings, they will provide support for those who may need some assistance and the City will provide compliance guidance throughout the process. We are working to build a visual unity and connectivity to the downtown corridor. We will also include practices to ensure the safety and security of the downtown environment. Funding opportunities are constantly being sought to help with infrastructure projects that enhance the quality of life for Dillon residents and we welcome alternative funding sources for downtown investment. Throughout this process, our volunteers will be critical for the successful execution of each task.
3. An attractive Downtown, with diverse spaces and businesses, will attract more people to spend time Downtown Dillon. More people increase downtown retail sales opportunities. This process will help us retain our current businesses, provide growth opportunities and encourage new market opportunities.
4. To have created an alluring branding campaign for Downtown Dillon with emphasis on the revitalization of the downtown business. People will want to come and see what is happening Downtown Dillon just based on our branding. We will work to host marketing events for downtown retailers including small retail promotional opportunities and authentic special events. We are partners with Dillon County Chamber of Commerce and through this partnership, we will work to promote these and other activities.