Organization is taking place, and the director soon will call a Community Summit

The Sandy Main Street program is in the midst of intensive organization, under the part-time leadership of Main Street Manager Jason McNeil.

A seven-person steering committee is being formed, with members from such groups as the historical society, Sandy City Council and Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce board as well as a downtown business owner, downtown property owner and two at-large seats.

McNeil, now a city employee, gained approval from the City Council on Oct. 3 for the proposal and for the people who have expressed willingness to be members of the steering committee.

That committee will take the role of oversight and leadership as well as coordinating the program's three other committees: promotion, design and economic restructuring.

The steering committee, which eventually will act like the group's board of directors, also will look for funding sources, which McNeil says typically include about one-third from the city, one-third from grants and one-third from the business community and other outside sources or fundraisers.

But the steering committee is likely to determine more about the financial structure of the organization when it begins to meet later this month.

Eventually, Sandy Main Street would become a nonprofit organization - something like a downtown business association - with a director separate from city staff.

Another plan for the near future is what McNeil is calling a Community Summit. He says he would like to gather people with ideas and interest in promoting downtown businesses to speak with the director of Oregon Main Street.

'This is largely a volunteer organization,' he said, 'and we're trying to show the community and business and property owners what we're doing, and hopefully more volunteers will participate.'

McNeil is beginning to develop a small marketing campaign, but he is still waiting to hear about acceptance of a 50-50 matching grant request for funding.

He is working on a logo for the campaign and taking a look at marketing materials now. But he says he is not doing anything significant until he hears the $15,000 grant has been awarded - because any expenses incurred before the grant is awarded are not eligible for grant funding.

Sandy Main Street's economic restructuring committee still has to wait for a while to gain enough information that could persuade certain businesses to relocate in Sandy. That committee is likely to carry the marketing campaign developed with the grant to influence potential new Sandy businesses.

That committee's action has been delayed because of the lack of materials.

'We don't want to move forward with (the marketing campaign),' McNeil said, 'until we have something that looks good and professional to give to prospective businesses - materials that are attractive and would catch someone's eye.'

Another part of the requested grant would fund what McNeil called a 'professional-looking website' and a promotional video to attract new Sandy businesses.

The grant would provide about $7,500 from the grantor and require an equal amount from Sandy Main Street. The city's part would include about $3,500 from McNeil's budget and $4,000 in-kind materials or services.

McNeil hopes to have Sandy Main Street a lot more organized and more volunteers working by November, because many of today's questions will be answered during October.

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