Downtown Revitalization Committee plans to strengthen community outreach

7 months ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Members of the Downtown Revitalization Committee met on Wednesday, Sept. 13 at the City Hall to discuss their goals for next year.

The nine-member Downtown Revitalization Committee is looking for ways to revitalize their subcommittees and community involvement with their board. The committee is looking into doing more outreach to downtown merchants and have better announcements from the committee for bigger events like the Vintage Automobile show.

“Downtown merchant representation is lacking on this board,” said Galen Weibley, director of the Economic and Community Development.

The Downtown Revitalization Committee only has one vacancy but there are subcommittees like Downtown Design, Concerts and Promotions, Beautification, and the Banner Program.

“Maybe starting at the new year what we can do is have one of us volunteer to chair each of those committees,” said Flyod Rockholt, Downtown Committee treasurer.

The subcommittees haven’t been formed and met formally since Jordyn Madore left as the secretary for the subcommittees six years ago. Other residents can serve as volunteers on the subcommittees for the Downtown Revitalization.

One of four goals the Downtown Committee discussed was the possibility of having resident volunteers with Galen Weibley expressing his gratitude for city staff who coordinate the vendors for the concert series.

There were four Rockin’ on Riverside concerts with one being canceled due to weather. 

Downtown Revitalization Committee member Matthew McGinley from Royal Leaf Apothecary noticed that businesses stayed open later during the concert series, and noted how some businesses aren’t open in the downtown area after people get out of work.

Weibley floated the idea of bringing back event sponsorship days, or nights. The city did away with sponsorship days, or nights, due to weather cancellations.

In other business, members of the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee voted to approve an increase in their 2024 budget by $9,000 from last year’s budget. The 2023 budget was $13,851 and could be $22,851 if approved by the Presque Isle City Council.

Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee members form left Danielle Cyr, Floyd Rockholt, and Galen Weibley discuss the committee’s goals for 2024 in City Hall on Sept. 13. (Paul Bagnall | The Star-Herald)

The balance of the Downtown Revitalization Committee’s checking account is $7,180 due to a rain date cancellation with the band Wally and the Virginians. The committee has to spend the money by the end of 2023, or it gets moved to the city’s general fund.

Another goal for next year was how to continue the city’s banner program for all the veterans, which will stay up until Veterans Day and be changed out to the winter banners. Peter Lajoie changes out the banners but won’t be able to due to his schedule. The Downtown Revitalization Committee floated a suggestion to use a local bucket truck.

“We have a couple of big goals [for the banners] like assessing how they are installed,” said Deb Roark, committee vice president.

More goals for the banners would be where they will be hung around the city with Matthew McGinley from Royal Leaf Apothecary looking into possible locations.

People on the Downtown Revitalization Committee whose terms are expiring by the end of 2023 are Clint Deschene, which is an open position since he resigned, Shawn Cunningham, and Rodney Cameron, who is interested in still serving on the committee. 

Roark will be stepping down as vice president for the Downtown Revitalization Committee but will still serve on the Committee as a board member.

The Downtown Revitalization Committee will be doing more outreach to business members in the downtown area who are interested in serving on the committee to increase businesses’ representation.

Downtown Revitalization Committee is limited to 11 members that can include four residents not living in Presque Isle in accordance with the committee’s bylaws. Five of the nine members attended Wednesday’s meeting.

Correction: An earlier version of this article contained errors. Alanna Brewer did not express interest in joining the Downtown Revitalization Committee. The committee has 11 members, including two city councilors and four nonresidents.