Main Street Minden to receive funding
April 6, 2017
Main Street Minden will receive $45,000 in funding from the Town of Minden for FY17-18, but the town's long-term commitment to the organization is up in the air.
Town board members Wednesday night unanimously approved an additional year of funding for the nonprofit organization, but cautioned Executive Director Connie Billington that the organization needs to look at becoming self-funding.
"I'm rooting for you and trying to get you out so you're financially independent," board member Matt Bernard said, likening the organization to a teenager working toward moving out of his parent's house.
Main Street Minden began operations in November 2015. According to the organization's website, it is "focused on preserving the historic downtown and reintroducing downtown Minden as the heart of our community and an exciting place to visit and do business. Over the next several years we will work to evolve downtown Minden into a more activity-rich, walkable, special event destination."
Billington presented the board with a five-year projection of expenses and revenues. According to her estimates, even with ongoing support from the town, Main Street Minden will be in the red beginning in FY20-21.
Board members expressed concern over the organization's budget projections and questioned the role of the organization in an area that already has a chamber of commerce and an economic vitality program.
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"It just seems to me we have a lot of layers of people who do the same thing," Bernard said.
Chairman Bill Soulingy recognized the organization got off to a slow start, but said he is unimpressed with what it has done thus far. During her presentation Billington cited efforts such as planting flowers in Minden Park and helping with the town's Fourth of July celebration and Carson Valley Days Breakfast.
"All in all, these are pretty low-level programs," he said. "I don't think any of those events help with revitalization."
He also expressed concern that Main Street Minden is only focusing on the downtown area and is excluding outlying businesses.
"That's a lot of money for three blocks, and Minden's bigger than three blocks," he said.
Billington said the organization works to include all Minden businesses.
Nationally, there are more than 2,000 historic downtown Main Street districts.