Oak Harbor Main Street board selected

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It’s out with the interim and in with a first official board of directors for the Oak Harbor Main Street Association, another required step along the group’s organizational path.

“I’m thrilled with what we’ve accomplished so far,” said Margaret Livermore, board president. “We were able to accept pledges of Business and Operating taxes of $79,000 our first year, so that was great. Next year we’ll work even harder.”

Livermore, a long-time member and past president of the Downtown Merchants Association, left that group suddenly in 2014 amid in-fighting. Livermore first introduced the idea of Main Street during her time with the Downtown Merchants and has lead the charge to initiate the new program ever since.

About 30 people gathered at Oak Harbor’s city council chambers to hear the update on the group last week.

Work by the interim board helped pave the way for the new board, getting the organization’s bylaws and nonprofit status and seeing the group accepted as a Washington State Main Street community so it could accept the tax pledges. Now it’s time for the group to start working on its goals for the coming year.

The newly elected board of directors for the Oak Harbor Main Street Association includes Livermore, Rhonda Severns, Ron Apgar, Kathy Collantes, Laura Cailloux, Kevin Johnson, Kathy Jones, Melissa McCumber, Mandi Rothman, Chris Skinner, Jim Slowik, Greg Lanza and Gary Wallin.

“We have three main goals this year,” said Livermore. “We want to hire a full time executive director, establish an office in a place where we’ll be visible and recruit people to fill our four committees.”

Those committees include organization, design, economic vitality and promotion, which represents the four-prong approach most Main Street communities follow.

Washington State Main Street Coordinator, Breanne Durham, was on hand to share some of the organization’s guiding principles to help communities revitalize their downtown areas.

“Most Main Street organizations do have committees focusing on these four areas,” she said. “And they should all be working together toward the same goal.”

Durham stressed the importance of community involvement in creating a successful Main Street Association.
“The more community buy-in, the better,” she said. “And volunteers. Volunteers are at the heart of any Main Street program. A great program is driven by the community and community volunteers.”

Durham said it’s important that the group establishes a cohesive look and feel for the downtown area.
“You want to created place where people want to spend time and ultimately invest,” she said. “You want to bring people back downtown so you have to give them reasons to come downtown.”

“Our mission is to promote a vibrant waterfront community,” said Livermore. “We want to create an active, exciting place where people want to come. We have great aspirations for what can happen, we just have to get there.”

Oak Harbor is now one of 34 Main Street communities in the state, and the third on Whidbey Island, joining Coupeville and Langley.

“You want to created place where people want to spend time and ultimately invest,” she said. “You want to bring people back downtown so you have to give them reasons to come downtown.”

“Our mission is to promote a vibrant waterfront community,” agreed Livermore. “We want to create an active, exciting place where people want to come. We have great aspirations for what can happen, we just have to get there.”

The newly elected board of directors for the Oak Harbor Main Street Association include Livermore, Rhonda Severns, Ron Apgar, Kathy Collantes, Laura Cailloux, Kevin Johnson, Kathy Jones, Melissa McCumber, Mandi Rothman, Chris Skinner, Jim Slowik and Gary Wallin.

Oak Harbor is now one of 34 Main Street communities in the state, and the third on Whidbey Island, joining Coupeville and Langley.

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