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Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015

Revitalizing downtown is focus of new post

Monday, April 26, 2010

(Photo)
Dressed in school colors of purple and gold, the long-awaited new playground at Verona Elementary School was formally dedicated on Friday afternoon. The playground features climbing apparatus, a hoops court and pavillion.
The Monett Chamber of Commerce will begin accepting job applications for the position of Main Street coordinator this week.

This position was created as an outgrowth of the Vision 2030 project conducted by Drury University last year under the leadership of the City of Monett and the chamber.

Downtown revitalization will be the primary focus of the individual hired to fill the part-time position. In particular, the Main Street coordinator will be responsible for implementing the recommendations of the Vision 2030 Committee and the Main Street Four-Point Approach to downtown revitalization.

The Four-Point Approach includes:

* Organization: getting everyone working toward a single vision for downtown revitalization.

* Promotion: getting more people to visit downtown, which in turn will increase shopping traffic.

* Design: improving the aesthetics of downtown and developing a plan for improvement and maintenance.

* Economic restructuring: creating a healthy and sustainable business climate in the downtown area.

In addition, the Main Street coordinator will be asked to apply for the DREAM initiative and act as a liaison between the city, the chamber and downtown businesses.

"After the Vision 2030 plan was completed with input from the community, Suzy (McElmurry, chamber executive director) and I met with volunteer members of the Vision 2030 Committee and we broke into four working groups," said Monett City Administrator Dennis Pyle. "We soon realized neither of us was going to be able to give the effort the time it deserved.

"We thought if the city and chamber could work together and get a buy-in from the downtown businesses as well, we could hire a person to be the Monett Main Street coordinator," explained Pyle. "This person will primarily be responsible for picking up where the Vision 2030 process left off."

After meetings between the city council, the chamber board and downtown businesses, a collaborative agreement was forged.

The city council voted on March 15 to earmark $20,000 in the 2010-11 fiscal year budget to help fund the position. In addition, the Monett Chamber Board approved a $3,000 contribution and downtown businesses have agreed to contribute $5,000. These pledges of support will extend two years.

The Main Street coordinator's starting salary has been set at $15,000 based on a 24-hour work week. Once hired, this individual will be required to keep regular business hours and will work out of an office in the Monett Chamber, which is part of the chamber's contribution.

In addition to the $15,000 salary, the $28,000 budget created for the position includes the following line items: computer expense, $1,500; training, travel and lodge expense, $3,000; professional and consulting services, $3,000; office supplies, $1,500; telephone/internet, $750; advertising/promotion, $1,000; FICA expense, $1,150; workers compensation, $55; and miscellaneous, $1,045.

The Main Street coordinator will be an employee of the Monett Chamber and work under the direction of a six-member Main Street Committee, comprised of two representatives each from the city, the chamber and downtown businesses.

"The committee will set policy for this person," said Pyle. "They will be involved in the recruiting process and provide guidance."

The committee will be chaired by Sharon Garrett. Other members include: Pyle, Jerry Dierker, McElmurry, Keith McCracken and Kathy Skaggs.

"It's going to be a big job and finding the right person is important," said Garrett. "If we are successful in putting more tenants in buildings and getting the downtown buildings fixed up, more people will start coming downtown.

"Anything we can do to keep shoppers in Monett, keeps sales tax dollars in Monett and benefits all of us," added Garrett.

According to Pyle, the city council is "fully behind" the new Main Street coordinator position.

"The city is involved, because we want to expand the sales tax base of Monett to include downtown," said Pyle. "With the new development we've seen going on in downtown, and hopefully with the impetus that this position will create, downtown will become even more desirable for new businesses, which will bring more shoppers to downtown.

"Increased sales tax revenue is a direct benefit to the city," added Pyle.

The Main Street coordinator position has been posted on the city and chamber websites and is also being publicized through the Missouri Municipal League and Missouri Chamber of Commerce. Classified advertisements are also being run in The Monett Times, the Cassville Democrat and the Barry County Advertiser.



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