Scott Shine, the DDA’s Executive Director, recently held an annual meeting to talk about accomplishments and goals for the organization. He said about 30 new businesses have opened their doors in the downtown area since January of 2010.
Voters approved the new Downtown Development District last year. The new District allows a 5-mill levy that will raise $140,000 during this year, and the DDA has finally started receiving funds.
After a nationwide search, Shine, a former senior planner for the city, was chosen as its first executive director in June, and he’s been busy ever since, conferring with the DDA board and visiting downtown businesses to introduce himself and talk about the future.
Shine said he’s pleased with all the new businesses downtown. He said they represent a wide variety of goods and services, including boutiques, art galleries, sports bars, auto services, financial services, a construction supply company, an arts cooperative, bakeries, a grocery store, and medical supply companies,
“People don’t realize how much we have until they come downtown and explore, and they’re all locally owned businesses,” he said.
Shine said the DDA is working to help downtown businesses succeed, and is in the process of compiling a complete list of more than 150 businesses in the district.
At the DDA’s annual meeting last week, Shine showed a video about downtown, and took suggestions from people about what they want to see. Most said they wanted to see downtown events continue into the future.
In the meantime, DDA is working on some concrete advantages it can offer to downtown businesses, including a revolving loan fund, which Shine said will give businesses access to capital at low interest rates.
The loan fund will be included in the 2012 DDA budget, he said; the DDA will later try to offer grants to businesses.
“We are trying to maximize the loans by partnering with the city and Region 10 Economic Development, and are working with the Montrose Association of Commerce and Tourism on special events.”
Shine said that Montrose ACT is offering a workshop for event planners at its office on Nov. 1 from noon until 1:30 p.m. For more information, call 970/249-5000.
“We are emphasizing that if you are an event planner, it will be to your advantage. and could be an open door for funding,” he said.
The DDA also plans to aggressively market the downtown area in the future, Shine said.
“We will market the district as a whole, and want to brand downtown through the media,” he said. “You’ll see many changes in the coming year.”
The DDA board is also working to clarify its mission and goals, and looks to the success of Grand Junction’s downtown, which formed a downtown district about 30 years ago.
“It’s important to set a foundation,” he said.
The downtown area is the heart of the community, Shine said, and the overall goal is to help property owners and business succeed.
Like Grand Junction, Shine said the Montrose DDA hopes to establish more public gathering places, and redesign the streetscape to make it friendlier for shoppers and visitors.
The backbone of the DDA is its hardworking board of directors, he said, all of whom are downtown property owners or business proprietors.
“I’ve been talking a lot, and walking around introducing myself,” he said. “I’ve been hearing a lot of great ideas, and we will do all we can to help them succeed.”