Downtown development group hires first directorSeptember 13, 2017
By CANDY NEAL
HUNTINGBURG — Destination Huntingburg, an organization that promotes the enhancement of the city’s downtown, has its first director.
Huntingburg resident Sarah Flamion, 37, was hired by the Destination Huntingburg board, pending approval of a funding contract with the City of Huntingburg.
That contract was discussed at length during the Huntingburg Common Council’s Tuesday meeting, where the council ultimately approved the $20,000 contract, allowing Flamion to be hired.
Flamion graduated from Southridge High School in 1998 and attended Ivy Tech Community College to study photography. She joined the Herbstfest Committee as chairperson in 2011, a role in which she served for three years. She is currently a board member of the festival committee and Huntingburg Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Organization. Flamion is married and has three children.
“She is passionate about Huntingburg’s development,” said Crystal Buehler, president of the Destination Huntingburg board. “We feel like she will be an absolute great asset and first director for our organization.
In this part-time position, Flamion will develop programs, find and write grants, and encourage redevelopment and support existing businesses in the downtown area. Flamion will work out of Current Blend.
Destination Huntingburg was formed in 2014 and is the city’s Main Street Revitalization Program participant. Main Street, a program administered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, encourages economic development, improvement and restoration in the downtown areas of Indiana cities and towns. Huntingburg needed to have a Main Street program to apply for the Stellar Communities program.
But if a city is designated as a Stellar Community, like Huntingburg was in 2014, its Main Street organization cannot apply for program funding from OCRA, Mayor Denny Spinner explained to the council.
“The organization has run as a volunteer organization since its inception,” he said. “And like all organizations of that type, it comes to a point where they need some attention from a staff member.”
When asked how this organization was different from the Huntingburg Chamber of Commerce, Spinner explained that the chamber’s focus is on promoting businesses and bringing the business community together. Destination Huntingburg’s focus is on promoting events and projects that tie to the downtown area, he said. Buehler added that a chamber representative sits on Destination Huntingburg’s board.
The council agreed to the $20,000 contract, which will run from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept. 30, 2018. The money will come from the city’s Economic Development Income Tax fund.
The organization will report to the council on its progress semi-annually, detailing how different organization goals are met. Ultimately, Buehler said, the organization wants to become self-sufficient.
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