BY KAREN ACKERMAN WITTER
If you care about the future of downtown Springfield and want to help make a difference, come to the “Momentum on Main Street” event on Thursday, March 21 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Arlington’s. This is an initiative of the Downtown Springfield, Inc. (DSI) economic vitality committee, which is looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs, rehabbers, investors and anyone else who wants to be a part of building the future of downtown.
DSI is a nationally accredited Main Street program, and economic vitality is one of the four pillars of the Main Street revitalization program. The economic vitality committee is comprised of volunteers, including property owners, real estate professionals, business owners and downtown advocates.
Lisa Clemmons Stott, DSI executive director says, “Momentum on Main Street is a kick-off event to attract and encourage people who may not have considered themselves potential investors, property owners or entrepreneurs, but given the right tools and the support of the downtown community, could actually realize some dreams for themselves and collective growth of the downtown.”
Enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar starting at 5:30 p.m. At 6 p.m. there will be a panel presentation by people who are already committed to downtown and are making a difference. They will provide insights on how you can get involved as well, and there will be plenty of networking opportunities.
David Lee, chair of the economic vitality committee, says, “The purpose of the event is to build more awareness of what’s going on in downtown Springfield and activate people to build on the momentum of what’s happening.”
Panelists will include individuals with long-standing involvement in downtown, successful new business owners and people who took a hobby and turned it into a business, such as Buzz Bomb Brewing Co., Custom Cup, Springfield Vintage and Willow and Birch Salon.
Lee is a 2008 graduate of Springfield High School who moved back to his hometown of Springfield several years ago and works in the medical device field. As a young professional, he is committed to making Springfield a better place for other young people. He believes that retaining and attracting new talent is essential for a vital downtown. This commitment led him to get involved with DSI.
The March 21 event is just the beginning for “Momentum on Main Street.” Lee says he hopes the event will inspire people who have an ambition but don’t know how to pursue it or think it can’t be done. There will be follow-up workshops to assist individuals who are motivated to develop a business plan or pool resources to make an investment. For more information about the event or to get involved with the economic vitality committee of DSI, contact David Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partners in the March 21 event include Arlington’s, WMAY, Innovate Springfield, the City of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development and Lincoln Land Economic Development Corporation.
Karen Ackerman Witter is a freelance writer whose goal is to connect people, organizations and ideas to achieve greater results. Having grown up in Springfield, she has seen many changes in downtown over the years and is excited to see what’s happening to revitalize downtown as the heart of the community.