Local News

Director: Downtown Vision has 'turned the corner'

Date: 6/22/2010

Posted by City of Garden City (electric/water/sewer) on 6/25/2010


The Garden City Telegram

By DEREK THOMPSON

dthompson@gctelegram.com 

Downtown Garden City saw the opening of nine new businesses and creation of 26 new jobs in the last year, Beverly Schmitz Glass, executive director of Downtown Vision Inc., said Monday.

  

Members of the downtown revitalization group gathered for the organization’s annual meeting, where committee members shared their progress and goals for the coming year.

  

According to Glass, the organization has “turned the corner” and is looking to “pick up speed.” Glass said that the group has reached a point in six years that similar organizations have not reached until their 12th years. Since 2004, downtown Garden City has seen 62 new businesses that have created 243.5 jobs, Glass said.

  

For the coming year, the group hopes to develop more second-story residential opportunities downtown, a desire that often is expresses by the community, Glass said. To meet that need, Downtown Vision is pushing for renovation of the former Buffalo Jones Hotel. The organization would like to see the bottom floor house a restaurant and the top two floors serve as residential living, Glass said.

  

“We really want to develop a good program that we can go to people who have second-story property available and (help them) see the wisdom in it into making it a second-story residential,” she said.

  

Glass said that Downtown Vision’s visibility in the community has increased, and new business owners now are looking at the downtown area as a preferred location, instead of as an afterthought.

  

“People are looking to downtown first in setting up a new business,” Glass said.

  

Glass said the organization is recognized by the public because of its events, such as Fall Fest, the Freedom Parade and the new downtown Farmers’ Market. That association is a positive one, Glass said. “That’s one of the reasons we exist,” she said.

  

Downtown Vision Board of Directors President Kurt Kinney presented the 2010-2011 Downtown Vision budget, and for the first time since its reception, the group is expected to end the year in the black. According to projections, the group has an expected income of $105,035 and $101,858 in expenses, for a profit of $3,177.

  

Downtown Vision is funded in part by the city of Garden City, membership dues, and through fundraising and special events.

  

Treasurer Reynaldo Mesa, who also serves as a city commissioner, presented the group’s 2009-10 financial report, and the group broke even with $83,581.78 in total assets and total liabilities and equity.

  

Also at the annual meeting, representatives from Downtown Vision’s four committees—economic restructuring, design, promotions and organization—presented reports for the previous year.

  

Shawn Myers presented the economic restructuring committee’s report, saying, “This year has been one of the most successful years for economic restructuring.”

  

The organization recognized outgoing board of director members, presenting them with a plaque. Outgoing board members included Jolene Baker, Michelle Mayo, Chris Regan and Mesa.

  

“You may be off the board, but you’re not out of Downtown Vision,” Glass said, jokingly.

  

The following new board members were introduced at the meeting: Julie Christner, Nicole Lucas, Brian Schwindt and Roxie Sperry.

  

Downtown Vision presented Commerce Bank with the 2009 community award. Rich Harp of Commerce Bank accepted the award.

  Kendall Kepley of Kep’s Men’s Wear was named the Volunteer of the Year. He has been recognized previously by the organization for his volunteer efforts, and the group renamed the Volunteer of the Year award the Kendall Kepley Volunteer of the Year award in his honor.