2017-01-27 / Front Page

Downtown group marks success

Brunswick Downtown Association conducts its annual meeting
BY LISA D. CONNELL
Times Record Staff


YELLOW LIGHT BREEN YELLOW LIGHT BREEN BRUNSWICK

Nearly 100 people attended Thursday’s annual meeting of the Brunswick Downtown Association, an event marking its ongoing recruitment of businesses to keep Maine Street economically humming.

Brunswick is one of 10 fully certified Main Street communities in the state.

BDA Executive Director Debora King said the Main Street designation “has given BDA access to some things we may not have encountered on our own.”

Information garnered by the BDA as a Main Street partner aids its goal of promoting a vibrant downtown community.

For Brunswick, that relationship is key, King said. Numerous and diverse shops, nonprofit groups and businesses line both sides of Maine Street.

“Downtown Brunswick is looking really good,” King said.

The occupancy rate downtown is at a high. Tax credits will help maintain and preserve historic buildings along this well-trafficked route.

Recent promotional events, including the Early Bird Sale and Small Business Saturday, resulted in record sales for business owners.

“When a large number of merchants participate in these events, downtown Brunswick becomes a destination,” she said. “This is what we’re about — economic development in action.”

King recognized the work of BDA members and the organization’s staff as well.

“We are all doing great work for the benefit of our community,” she said.

More programs are eyed for this year, such as a Second Friday Art Walk. Financial resources and time to coordinate these visual art strolls will be earmarked.

Money for more electric sockets on all the lights downtown will help brighten up the area with holiday lights in the winter. Creating more curb appeal for the Mall will draw more visitors and shoppers.

A possible piano promenade may happen, where pianos placed along Maine Street will invite musicians to hit a few keys.

Yellow Light Breen, president and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation, told BDA members Brunswick’s business strength lies in its volunteerism and commitment to growth.

Three points of a successful association will allow for future business growth, said Breen, a Maine native. Trusted research, cross-sector partnerships and leadership are paramount.

“ Developers want to go into places with a strong downtown,” Breen said. “It is downtown associations and Main Street programs that make it happen.”

lconnell@timesrecord.com

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