Chamber & Main Street Director Seeks To Rebound Group
By Fred Arnold Telescope Publisher
Read weekly online – www.thebellevilletelescope.com
With little more than three weeks under his belt as the new director of the Belleville Chamber & Main Street, Waylon Scheetz says it’s going to be a busy summer.
Scheetz, who served as interim director before accepting the job full-time admits he’s going to have to roll his sleeves up and ‘get to it.’ “It’s going to be a busy summer, not just with what people see as far as activities, but as much, if not more, than what they don’t see behind the scene,” he said.
As Chamber & Main Street director Scheetz knows he has his hand full with working on the image of both groups. Call it a public relations campaign.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m trying to make both groups be relevant, we have always been relevant,” he noted. “But in the past couple of years you just didn’t hear people on the street talking much about the Chamber. I think they have kind of forgotten what we’re all about. I’m going to change that,” he said.
Scheetz says there are three ways to do that: communicate, communicate, communicate.
“I want people to know that the Chamber is open for business and I have an open ear,” he said. The new director acknowledged there has been a perception the last couple of years that the Chamber is a non-functional group. He says that has caused some membership issues. Scheetz said he wants to reverse that trend. He wants people to stop asking, “why should I join the Chamber,” and turn it into, “I want to join the Chamber.”
“Membership is going to be a big focus on what I want to do,” he said. “We have a great town with lot of great businesses. Not just downtown but on Highway 81 and 36 as well. I want to work with those businesses and let them know that the Chamber & Main Streets values them and wants them to be a part of our organization.”
One of the things Scheetz will be doing is “stopping in.” He said it is important for the businesses in Belleville to understand that he is here to help them first and foremost. “I’m going to make it a point to pop my head in and see if there is anything the Chamber can do for them,” he added.
Scheetz said while there is never a slow time with the Chamber, his tenure has started at possibly the busiest time of year.
“There is so much going on right now.,” he said. ‘We’ve got the car show, the fair and the 150th celebration all right in a row. That doesn’t even count the things people in the public don’t see. But there is something going on literally every week through the end of the year.”
One of the those ‘behind the scene’ items the director referenced, that he is particularly excited about is funding for the Main Street program on a state level. After a six-year hiatus, Scheetz said the State of Kansas has again decided to fund Main Street.
“What this means for us is that it opens doors for us to get grant funding to work on various projects locally,” he said. “I am very excited about the doors this can help open for Belleville.”
Learn more about the National Main Street Center – www.mainstreet.org
Who We Are
Main Street America is a program of the National Main Street Center. We revitalize older and historic commercial districts to build vibrant neighborhoods and thriving economies.
The National Main Street Center leads a movement committed to strengthening communities through preservation-based economic development in older and historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.
The National Main Street Center was established as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980 as a way to address the myriad issues facing older and historic downtowns during that time. Working with a nationwide network of coordinating programs and local communities, Main Street has helped over 2,000 communities across the country bring economic vitality back downtown, while celebrating their historic character, and bringing communities together.
An exciting new chapter for the organization began on July 1, 2013, when the National Main Street Center launched as an independent subsidiary of the National Trust. This transition enables Main Street to build on its three-decade record of success, with new leadership and new resources that will help communities respond to evolving needs and opportunities in the commercial district revitalization field.
In 2015, the Center launched a new program brand for the network of Main Street programs—Main Street America™—to reinvigorate our collective look, feel, and strategy to position Main Street as a leader locally, regionally, and nationally.
The National Main Street Center is based in Chicago, Illinois, with an office in Washington, DC, and field staff located throughout the country.