Citywalk News for April

Hello from FSBD. So, you want to know more about Main Street? Well here is a glimpse of what the Main Street director roles encompass. This article is credited to Todd Wolford, Executive Director, Downtown Wytheville Inc.


Main Street directors are a one-of-a-kind group of individuals. They play many roles and wear every hat imaginable to make sure the job gets done. If you are a manager, you have to be okay with the fact that you are never not working. At the grocery store, the gym, even on vacation, people want to talk about projects, events or just general information about the organization and community; exhausting, yes, but part of the job.


The three P’s of the Main Street world are people, personalities and politics. Not mentioned as part of the job description is behavioral specialist or personal mediator, to name a few, but it sure does seem like directors are doing quite a bit of this from time to time amongst people. It is so important to get the right people involved who have the best interest of Main Street and FSBD in mind.


“Main Street directors in particular serve an important role in cultivating, inspiring and empowering people within their organization and extended volunteer base to see long lasting results.” –Norma Ramirez de Meiss, Leading Main Street.


Selling the locals of all people, can be one of the most challenging things as an organization. Some locals give feedback and voice what they think needs to happen but want to snap their fingers and see it on a project that may take years to materialize. If most knew the details of what goes into revitalization and economic development, I think it would be rather eyeopening for a lot of folks. Some locals want to criticize for what your town has not done, rather than celebrate what you have. It can be frustrating as a director. We have to stay the course, trust the process and focus on bringing positive change. Results will come and the numbers alone will validate the achievements. The naysayers become believers when the vision becomes reality.


Why Main Street? Is what is heard at times. Why are you focusing so much time and effort on Main Street and those old outdated buildings that are falling apart and have no parking as it is? Well, my question to these folks is, “why not?” Why not change the perception of our community and the way that our downtown is viewed? Why not create a culture that promotes bringing people together in an atmosphere that is walkable and where people can gather? Why not focus on the heart of our community and preserve the unique history from the past that many of the younger generation will not have the opportunity to know about? Lastly, what is the alternative? A vibrant downtown says a great deal about the well-being of a community as a whole.


How was Todd able to do it you ask? Well, from his standpoint, bridging the gaps between people, finding common ground, keeping everyone excited about projects, goals and events, but most importantly, leaving egos and personal agendas at the door.


Thank you Todd for that insight.

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