By Shane Jones
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT — Buildings in downtown DeWitt have been standing for many years, but the businesses have changed greatly. One building for example was once an old car dealership, now it is a restaurant. What was once a church, will now be a brewery.
As time goes on, the city of DeWitt is trying to change from the small city that it is known for into more of a modern city. Each year, the city and township management are constantly trying to help the city grow.
Unlike normal big city downtown areas, the downtown of DeWitt is very small and full of smaller and locally-owned businesses. Some businesses like Twiggies, owned by Beth Herendeen and also the Chairperson for the Downtown Development Authority have been around for a very long time and have endured some of the hardships that DeWitt faced in earlier times.
So why change the city?
“Recruitment of citizens is definitely a part of our plan in what were trying to accomplish. We work with both the city and township management to try and help our city grow,” Herendeen said.
Along South Bridge Street, there have been two new businesses to open up. The first is the DeWitt Area Chamber of Commerce ran by Loretta Spinrad. In her new office space she is running two different businesses: The Chamber of Commerce and also Bridge Street Real Estate. The second which is set to open next week is an upscale restaurant and set to serve over 150 different types of wines called Bridge Street Social.
“We are still growing. What makes DeWitt fun is that for the most part, if you live in the surrounding neighborhoods, people can ride their bikes here to our downtown area. When you live in a community and can build a business in that community, you feel like you are a part of the city,” Spinrad said.
According to their website, the Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization that focuses on the support of business growth and development and to also enhance the quality of life for all residents in the community.
The downtown in DeWitt is not like Times Square in New York, nor does have to be. It fits the community quite well. Local residents owning business serving their community.
“I have had many interactions with citizens who have told me that they appreciate what I do for the community, but really to me they are saying that they appreciate what the DeWitt Area Chamber of Commerce is doing for the community,” Spinrad said.
The city and township administration working along with groups like the DDA are the driving reason behind the changes in DeWitt. These changes are for the residents of the area and to help bring prosperity in not only the businesses in the city but also in the social life for residents.