By Deb Hadachek Telescope editor
Melinda Pierson has left her mark on Main Street.
Pierson became the first executive director of the Belleville Main Street program 14 years ago soon after the program was established in Belleville. Later she also took on the duties of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce, and the two programs were eventually combined in 2012.
At the end of this month she will leave the job to take a new position with American Family Insurance agent Scott Ausherman.
Pierson said she recently sorted through “before and after” photos of the downtown square of the many buildings improved with funding from Kansas Main Street.
“I had forgotten how it looked,” she said, listing buildings like Hair Plus, Waddell and Reed, and the Dinner Bell on the north side of the square.
“And of course, there’s the Blair Theater and many others,” Pierson says. “Seeing how the downtown has evolved in this time has been very exciting. That was not my doing, but by being able to coordinate with Kansas Main Street and our board of directors. “That was fun to see.”
The Kansas Main Street program was eliminated in 2012 because of state budget cuts, but reestablished in 2015 by a grant from the USDA. About 25 communities around the state are Main Street communities.
Through the Chamber, Pierson helped coordinate annual events like the Crossroads Car Festival, Ag Heritage Day, and others. On Monday, she was completing details for the Christmas on the Square celebration the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Pierson said she will continue to work part-time after November 30 while the Belleville Chamber and Main Street board seeks a new director. “It wasn’t an easy decision, but one that I felt was right,” she says of her decision to move on. “I’m ready to change the pace a little.’
Find more information on the Belleville Chamber & Main Street here – www.bellevilleks.org.
Interested applicants for the Belleville Chamber & Main Street Director position can find information on the position here www.republiccountykansas.com/jobs.
Before and after downtown improvements.