Caption: The Williamston DDA met on Feb. 19 at Williamston City Hall at 161 East Grand River Ave. to discuss the banner program and facade improvements. (Credit: Heidi Vanderbeek)
The Williamston Downtown Development Authority received 14 letters from downtown business owners who would like to hang in the banners outside their businesses.
City Manager, Corey Schmidt, said the banners will be given out on a first-come-first-serve basis. In the downtown area, there are nearly three dozen businesses that entertain the residents and surrounding areas.
Williamston City Mayor Tammy Gilroy objected to the idea of the first-come-first-serve basis as she said she would rather have more banners under the lights than just a couple of dozens.
She said she would rather provide an advertisement for as many local businesses as possible.
“I would also like to see non-profits have the opportunity to purchase a banner,” Gilroy said, “organizations like the Lions and Rotary (Clubs) would probably love the opportunity.”
Gilroy asked Schmidt if the letters were sent to just downtown businesses or if the board was planning to send letters to the industrial park. Schmidt said they would send out another round of letters if necessary.
“At this point the strategy for sending out more letters is undetermined,” Schmidt said.
Rich Martin, who is the DDA board chair and owns Barretts, the clothing store, said he thought the letter was clear and concise but was pushing for a quicker turnaround for the project to be completed.
“The banner program started before I was a committee member,” said Martin. “It took over two years to bring (it) into fruition. It should have been dealt with in three months!”
Martin said he agreed with Gilroy that the more banners line the streets of the downtown area, the better. He said one of the most difficult things that the DDA faces is finding the money for the infrastructure needs of the community.
“The more banners we having lining the streets the more money we have in our budget for other projects,” Martin said.
William Long, who is a DDA board member and also the owner of the Studio Shop, a boutique store, said as a business owner it is often hard to purchase advertising in the early months of the year.
He suggested doing two waves of letters to allow those who have interested another chance to participate when it would be easier for a business owner’s budget.
Schmidt said banners will be on the light poles in early May as more traffic comes to the town in the summer months for the parks and local festivals.
The DDA is scheduled to meet again on March 19 at 7 p.m. at the Williamston City Hall.