The boards of Downtown Washington Inc. and the Historic Washington Foundation, its sister organization, presented iPads to downtown staff members in appreciation of their hard work and efforts during a party Friday night celebrating the organization winning the 2012 Great American Main Street Award. Here Bridgette Epple, third from right, executive director, and Aimee Frey, second from left, open their gifts. Also pictured are Joe Schneider, left, Andy Unerstall, second from right, downtown board president, and Rick Hopp, right.

The acquisition, renovation and operation of the Downtown Washington post office building will be one of the topics of discussion at the National Preservation Conference this fall in Spokane, Wash.

Bridgette Epple, executive director of Downtown Washington Inc., was asked to speak at the conference about the post office  project.

The downtown group and its sister organization, the Historic Washington Foundation, purchased the circa 1922 building in May 2010 and then undertook a major overhaul of the building. In March of 2011, a contract postal unit was opened, operated by the downtown group which also moved its offices there.

The lobby was restored to look like it did in the 1920s.

Aimee Frey, event coordinator for the organization, also will attend the Oct. 31-Nov. 3 conference, sponsored by the National Trust for Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization which works to save America’s historic places.

“I was honored to be asked to speak and excited to attend the conference,” Epple told The Missourian. “There are some great training sessions and field trips we plan to take part in.”

Epple said the Downtown Washington post office is a “unique economic preservation-based project” and a timely topic given the financial troubles of the U.S. Postal Service which has been closing and consolidating post offices across the country.

“I also feel it’s a huge recognition for our community and all of the volunteers who worked so hard on the renovation project,” she added.

Epple will actually head to Spokane a few days before the conference to attend a national meeting of Main Street managers. As a member of the Missouri Main Street Connections board, she will represent the state at that meeting.

This past April, Downtown Washington Inc. won the 2012 Great American Main Street Award, sponsored by the the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Later this month, Epple will head to Petoskey, Mich., to speak at a statewide training session for Main Street managers there. Epple’s topic will be on longevity.

“Being a manager or director can be a very demanding job and there’s often high turnover,” she said. “The National Main Street Center asked me to speak about how not to get burned out, how to work with boards and volunteers and the importance of a stable, veteran staff.”

Epple has been with Downtown Washington Inc. for 12 years and Frey for six years.

“It’s important to have that consistency if you really want to grow your organization,” she said.