DWA work continues downtown

Whether it was major community events, façade improvements or businesses relocating, the Downtown Westfield Association was busy in 2012 and Director Anne Poynter is ready to continue the momentum into the New Year.

Poynter said the organization saw an increase in attendance at all of its major community events – Farmers Market, Westfield Rocks the Fourth, Grand Junction Funktion and Westfield in Lights.

“All were very successful,” she said.

The organization is working to continue board recruitment and hosts merchant meetings every other month, she added. DWA also has improved its marketing efforts by creating a new logo and online presence with facebook and its Web site.

Beautifying Westfield was also a goal in 2012. Poynter said a Westfield Cultural Task Group was being developed with the hopes of starting a Westfield arts council. She added that seven properties participated in the Façade Improvement Grant Program.

“The façade grant tremendously improved downtown,” she said.

Economic development was also a major focus in 2012. DWA teamed with local realtors and residents to create Grand Junction Properties Development to highlight areas available to businesses around downtown and provide information about the city.

The organization also worked with businesses on leasing city-owned buildings. In exchange for rent, owners use their own funds to update and improve the building’s interior. Poynter said the city’s old laundry mat was now home to four new businesses.

“It sat vacant for more than three years,” she said.

DWA had a goal of bringing five new businesses to downtown this year – 13 were added, including The Blank Space, Such Great Heights, Imagine Church, Two The Moon Antiques, Freeman Custom Homes, Adagio Dance Company, Cinderella’s Closet, Skin Fix, Everyday Artisan, Erika’s Place, Craze Boutique, Carpet Express Flooring and Wandering Peacock.

For 2013, Poynter said the organization’s goals were board and committee development and creating alternative funding sources such as grants and small event development in addition to DWA’s major events.