Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year, New Projects

While we are at the midpoint in our fiscal year, the change in the calendar always gets me to thinking about what is next.  This year, the Partnership Board decided to make a significant change and add a third staff person to help power our work in Downtown Frederick.  Now that Brittany is setting in and doing a great job, the rest of the Partnership crew is ready to tackle new challenges and put some additional polish on some ongoing efforts.  

At our May annual retreat, the Partnership Board identified four wish list items for the coming year.  Our first – hire a new staff person – is complete so we can check that box. Our second, implementing “gateway murals” in all City parking garage stairwells to both welcome visitors and help them find their cars is off to a great start.  The Partnership received a technical assistance grant from the State of Maryland just before Christmas (an early gift) to hire the designer of the current wayfinding system to complete this system update.  Many thanks to the Tourism Council and the City of Frederick for providing the match for this grant. Next step – looking for implementation funds to make the soon to be designed murals a reality.

Our third wish list item was possibly making First Saturday a longer event.  Currently, the official hours of First Saturday are 5-9PM – focused on the initial goal of increasing night life and encouraging consistent store hours.  With First Saturday now a well-established happening, the time has come to look at new ideas – including longer hours.  The decision making process on if, what and how will involve the merchant community, our current First Saturday attendees and more.  This process will kick off in January and will conclude in time to make plans for the next fiscal year which kicks off July 1, 2013.

Finally, the Partnership Board was anxious to start thinking about implementing a Get It Downtown campaign – a more general versus event focused marketing effort to encourage shopping, dining and playing in Downtown Frederick.  Our first brainstorming session will be held in January 2013 to begin to flush out this wish list item into actual projects, timelines and dollars.  

As I look ahead, I see the Partnership fully embracing our new person power and tackling more projects.  This fiscal year is one of adjustment and slow growth.  Next year, the Partnership will be well positioned to tackle even more new things… a new wish list that might include a building related project, a formal process to support merchant organized events and more.  Let us know your ideas – we’re ready to grow.   

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