HMDG has started its search for an executive director. Spearheading the effort is Jonathan Maloyed, assisted by Don Pratt, David Friedman and Susie Kenedy.
Also aiding in the search is Linda Lowes, who said the search effort includes advertisements in today's Standard Democrat as well as contacting area university job placement programs.
"We need a very dynamic, energetic self-starter for this position," said Lowes. "We are looking for someone who works well with merchants, developers and community leaders."
The goal of HMDG is to revitalize downtown, making it a viable location for retail, restaurants and professional offices, according to Lowes. To do this, she said, they are looking for an individual able to work with merchants on promotions and coordinate with the Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau to bring tours to the downtown area.
Also the new executive director would work with the streetscape project. Lowes said this involves not just the restoration of the area's brick streets but also improvements in sidewalks and lighting.
The streetscape project would beautify the downtown area by recreating "that old-time charm" and making use of the assets already there, Lowes said.
A not-for-profit organization, the Historic Midtown Development Group Inc. was formed to promote revitalization of Downtown Sikeston using the nationally recognized "Main Street Approach." According to Maloyed, in other communities successfully using the Main Street program, those directing them typically have a strong background in historic preservation and in grant writing.
Already, HMDG was awarded over $67,000 in Neighborhood Assistance Program Tax Credits from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. This money is to be for administrative purposes, Maloyed said.
Grant funding is being sought through the Missouri Department of Transportation for streetscape improvements. Additionally, a low-interest loan program has been introduced for Downtown merchants and property owners.
"We are looking for a self-motivated individual who has a passion for our purpose in revitalizing downtown," said Maloyed. "A person who would help provide direction for our organization to help us go forward and meet our landmark goals."
A Dec. 1 deadline is set by the committee for resumes. Maloyed said the committee will then review these and, hopefully, begin interviews.
Maloyed and Lowes agreed the search for the director is just another step in many months of hard work by a core group of property owners, merchants and city and Chamber officials. Both also pointed out the recent success of events organized by HMDG, such as the Oct. 28 "Halloween Family Fun Day."
The addition of a director, they said, would enable the efforts to continue to move forward.
"We realize all this can't be done overnight," said Lowes. "But we want a dedicated full-time person who can help us move upward and improve on everything Downtown."