I made no secret that I thought this was an important meeting. The Central Business Improvement District is an organization with a mission to enhance progress in the downtown area. Funded by a tax on downtown businesses and residents, it meets monthly and has a large role in deciding the direction of downtown projects and life in general. The meetings are held during the day, which seems to me to provide more opportunity for the businesses to be involved, and less opportunity for residents.
|Mingling and Munching before the Meeting|
|You too, could have mingled with Downtown Power Brokers!|
This meeting was held in the evening in an effort to address this concern and to measure the support for future meetings to be held after working hours. I’d threatened to eat all the (most excellent) food provided if no one showed up, but I need not have worried: About forty people attended. I think this exceeds attendance at a typical meeting by thirty-seven to thirty-eight. There were even more board members present for this meeting than the previous meeting! Is it just possible this was a good idea? I think so, though I doubt in quite the same format as the space rental and food cost $1400.
|Meet Your CBID Board|
Numerous topics and projects of interest to downtown residents were discussed including:
- Posting minutes from meetings on the new website (coming soon)
- A common downtown map is being developed by CBID and the Tourism Bureau
- Downtown Gift Cards with 30 businesses initially included will begin in September
- Cheryl Ball said single-stream recycling centers should be in place downtown by 10/1
- Sponsorships including the Ice Bears and the Market Square Ice Rink
- Ice Rink will be open to 1/8, 16K skaters and 20K spectators expected. Some of the concerns of merchants on the square have been addressed and changes have been made
|Michele Hummel, CBID Director, reports to the Board|
The minutes from last month included several nuggets of interest. The owners of the Arnstein Building have a contract with Lime Fresh, which I think most of us knew, but they will also have an additional 2000 square feet of retail space available on the ground floor, which I didn’t know. There is also the possibility of 6000 additional square feet in the basement. Funding for Lunafest and the Marble City Marathon were denied last month. I have no idea what the first is and I presume the second is not the same as the Knoxville Marathon. Are we going to be a two marathon city? Also, a Historic Downtown Walking Tour Brochure is being developed, which sounds great to me.
|Extensive discussion of Ice Bears Sponsorship|
So, see how much you can learn at one of these meetings? Here’s what I suggest you do if you are an interested downtown resident: Visit the website, sign up for e-mail updates, read the archived newsletters, watch for the minutes of this meeting to be posted and if they aren’t, e-mail and ask why not. If you would like more evening board meetings, contact Michele Hummel (email@example.com). She’s very nice and would enjoy hearing from you. If you would like evening meetings of downtown residents for informational purposes contact Melissa Everett (firstname.lastname@example.org ), our residential representative, and tell her you are interested. She’s already expressed her willingness to consider the possibility.