Downtown moving strongly in right direction

THE NEWS CONTINUES TO be good for downtown Plymouth – but there is still a long way to go. Under the direction and guidance of Downtown Manager Randy Schwoerer, business people downtown are becoming more united and focused in their efforts to promote and advertise Mill Street as a destination for shopping, dining and fun.

The primary evidence is the development of the Downtown Plymouth Association, with a formalized structure, broadening support and a solid plan of action.

Promotional events are planned to spotlight the many unique things downtown Plymouth offers to visitors and that should help to bring even more people here.

A major difference has been the direction and energy Schwoerer has brought to his temporary job. Under his vision and leadership, downtown business people have been energized and enthused.

Another big help has been the spotlight shone on downtown by the recent “Around the Corner with John McGivern” episode on Plymouth and the surrounding area.

McGivern hit on many of the charms of downtown, from quaint shops to the historic Walldogs murals, and it has had an impact. Schwoerer told the Redevelopment Authority at their last meeting that the program, which first aired on Jan. 8, has brought a lot of interested new visitors to downtown Plymouth.

That’s all the kind of momentum that needs to be built on, channeled and focused, which the DPA and Schwoerer should be able to do.

The pending creation of a logo to go with the recently-registered slogan “Cheese Capital of the World” should help to further focus and enhance those efforts.

For the long term, though, there is still the concern over the future of the downtown manager position.

At present, it is a limited-term position, funded for just two years by a grant from the Lakeshore Community Foundation.

The money will run out in late 2016 and there is a real danger that, without someone at the helm dedicated solely to promoting and uniting downtown, any momentum and progress gained to that point will begin to slide away and be lost.

The downtown manager was an idea whose worth had to be proven to many of those directly impacted – understandably so.

The results so far, through just a few months, seem to indicate that it is a worthwhile idea and a valuable position.

That means a key challenge for the Downtown Plymouth Association, those associated with downtown and city officials will be to find a funding mechanism to keep the position of downtown manager beyond the expiration of the grant.

Each passing day makes the importance of achieving more evident and more necessary.

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