By TRAVIS MORSE email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — Councilman David Wood is calling for local volunteer groups to take a more active role in community improvement.
Wood was the guest speaker at Wednesday morning’s annual meeting of the Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Corporation. Much of his remarks focused on the planned rehabilitation of the former Armory site on Broadway.
It was revealed Wednesday that the city has received a $144,000 grant to remove asbestos from the building. Even so, more local input is sorely needed to develop a comprehensive vision for developing the site, Wood said.
“When we’re talking about financial solutions, those tend to be more management driven, more council driven,” Wood said after Wednesday’s meeting. “And we’ve gotten that part of the old vision done and it’s time to develop a new vision. And it can’t just be a City Council vision. It’s not about any one person or us, it’s about getting everybody involved.”
The annual meeting is a chance for DMDC organizers to recap the year and highlight some of the agency’s accomplishments. The preceding year has proved fruitful for the organiza-
tion, said DMDC Executive Director Cyndy Mitchell.
“ Our main goal was to encourage the restoration and preservation of downtown buildings and to promote economic growth, and we feel like we have been working on that and we feel like we’ve been very successful. But it never stops,” Mitchell said.
Laura Thacker, DMDC president, mentioned a number of key agency projects, including the Upstart Art Mart at 805 E. Broadway, a venue for area artists to show and sell their works. At this point, 33 local artists are involved and over $1,000 has been made for them.
Going forward, the DMDC needs more volunteer hours and funding to continue to make progress, Thacker said.
“We’re under a totally different financial structure this year and it’s going to require an increased volunteer commitment from our board. And we will be looking for more private partnership funds,” Thacker said.
Wood touched on a great deal of issues during his speech, including a recent analysis of Mt. Vernon that featured input from new city residents.
While these residents were pleased with the ease of living in Mt. Vernon and the light traffic, they did express concern about a lack of adult activities in the city, including restaurants and art galleries.
Still, with increased volunteer input the city will be well on its way toward making major improvements, Wood said.
“We (the city) can’t do this alone. Give us the input and I will be one of your most vocal advocates,” Wood said.
For more information on the DMDC, contact the agency at 242-6866.