SIKESTON -- When the Historic Midtown Development Group hosts its second annual town hall meeting next month, it will have lots of news to share with the community, namely its executive director.
Committees will also give reports, which will "include a capsule of what has been accomplished during the past year," said Robin Pace, president of the not-for-profit organization.
At the group's Thursday meeting, committee updates were given and a timeline was set for the hiring of the director. Members also discussed upcoming events and promotions.
Jonathan Maloyed, who spearheaded the hiring effort, said six of 13 applicants were interviewed this week. From those, committee members will narrow the pool to two or three applicants today and begin checking references, he said.
"We would like to have a mixer with the board and invite those (applicants) to come," Maloyed said. By Jan. 19, a final recommendation will be given to the board, which will hold a special meeting to make its pick.
"That is the most important decision we'll have to make," said Jim Bucher, treasurer and chairman of the organization committee. "If we get a bad director, that's going to kill us."
The executive director will be introduced at the town hall meeting, which is tentatively set for Feb. 1 at St. Francis Xavier Parish Center on Stoddard Street. This meeting will replace the group's monthly meeting.
Pace encouraged members to attend the city Parking and Zoning meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Council Chambers.
"We're asking for input at the meeting to figure out what areas are 'downtown'," said Trey Hardy, community redevelopment coordinator. The "downtown" designation carries more restrictions that current zoning allows, he explained.
The areas to be discussed are between Stoddard and Moore streets and Trotter/Greer streets to Cresap and Tanner streets. After public input, the committee is expected to vote and pass on recommendations to the City Council. "The ball is in the citizens' court, so to speak," Hardy said.
David Friedman, chair of the promotions committee, gave an update on the first Sikeston in Bloom, planned for April 28, and asked for the allocation of up to $1,800 to promote the event.
The group plans to offer buggy rides and booths to be rented in Malone Park for craft and specialty food vendors, among other ideas in the works. It is also partnering with 97.9/B98 to bring the Colgate Country Showdown to the Albritton-Mayer Cultural Center.
"A lot of people go to that talent show -- it pulls from a four-state region," Friedman said. "We thought it would benefit us downtown during that time.
Friedman also received approval for funds needed to print brochures for the historic district, to be used by tourists and locals with information about downtown, the Sikeston Depot and historic homes. The brochures should be ready by July 1, he said.
In other news, Bucher gave a budget update. Currently, the group has $43,000 in the bank for its Neighborhood Assistance Programs funding. It can continue to raise funds through the end of the year.
He reminded the group of the guidelines and timeline the state has set for the use of NAP funds. "We have to do what the state of Missouri thinks we told them we were going to do," Bucher said. The group has two years to use the money, and if it meets the development goals established by HMDG the and the state, it can apply for more money.
To qualify for the NAP funds, the group must also raise 20 percent of the total amount. Right now, the HMDG is soliciting pledges and contributions from clubs, organizations and individuals to fund downtown lighting to satisfy this requirement, Pace said.