After working on organization for the past year, the Missouri Main Street Connection (MMSC) team is ready to put strategies that will impact downtown economy into play, according to Stephen Flannery III, Pacific Partnership president.
The MMSC committee met at Little Ireland Coffeeshop Jan. 25 to name the four committees that will begin the work to market downtown to shoppers and retail developers.
The goal is to increase sales in existing downtown stores and attract new retailers with the promise if they open a store here strong marketing programs will attract customers to their business.
The city was awarded a MMSC grant in November 2016, at the request of the Partnership. The Pacific Area Chamber of Commerce and city of Pacific signed on to assist with the project.
Downtown stakeholders were invited to a committee meeting March 16, 2017, where Keith Winge, MMSC community development director, guided them in setting priorities for downtown redevelopment.
Winge attended last week’s meeting in Pacific, but said it is now time for downtown stakeholders to put street-level projects in play.
“That’s where we are going in 2018,” Flannery said. “We named the chairs for the four basic committees that spearhead the MMSC, now we plan to call another downtown stakeholder meeting to bring those individuals back and start to put those ideas to work.”
The four basic MMSC committees will focus on organization, design, promotion and economic vitality.
“We’re basically at the point where we’re looking for local talent,” Flannery said. “We have lots of talent in Pacific and we want those people to join our committees to put their ideas in action.”
Maria Brennan will chair the organization committee.
Dan Rahn will chair the design committee with a goal to improve the overall design of old town, with projects such as landscaping, way-finding signs, art, murals and one or more pocket parks in the downtown area.
Amanda Nemeth and Adam Kraus will chair the promotion committee with plans to establish a marketing campaign for downtown, creating slogans and graphics, designing street banners that could help increase retail sales in downtown shops and creating initiatives to encourage people to shop in downtown Pacific.
Drew Stotler will chair the economic vitality committee that could include encouraging the city to update its permits, codes and enforcement policies, provide financial incentives for downtown development and targeting specific types of business to relocate here.
The Pacific Partnership will focus its attention on MMSC for 2018, starting with its own budget and events calendar.
“All these ideas were identified at the 2017 stakeholders meeting,” Flannery said. “But the committees are starting from scratch to decide what we as a city are ready to do and when to do it.”
For the past decade, the Partnership has had a primary goal to revitalize downtown.
With a budget of $60,000, the Partnership will host six outdoor events to help bring visitors to downtown in 2018. These include the Pacific Car Show, three Sunset on the Rails free concerts, Monsterfest and Christmas on the Plaza.
The Heritage Day (former Railroad Day) festival will be dropped for 2018.
“We looked at the participation and attendance of (Heritage Day) and decided that we could better put our resources into other events,” Flannery said.
Focusing on MMSC, Flannery said it’s time to put something into play. The next goal is to invite all the participants who attended the March 2017 stakeholders meeting back to the table and ask for help implementing elements of the program.
“We need to create subcommittees for each of the basic committees,” Flannery said. “This project has to be citizen driven now, so we’re looking for talent, people to man the subcommittees and put ideas into action.”
The date for a stakeholders meeting has not been set, but Flannery said the committee is looking at March, one year from the original meeting.