Seymour Main Street reflects on 2021, ready for 2022


the Seymour Main Street board of directors conducted its annual meeting Thursday at Seymour City Hall.

Last year’s meeting was closed to the public due to coronavirus concerns, but this year’s meeting was open.

Seymour Main Street was incorporated in 1999 and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with the mission “to plan, promote and preserve historic downtown Seymour, Indiana.”

The organization receives ongoing support from the city and the community. In 2021, there were 152 active members, which includes individuals, businesses and other nonprofit agencies. Membership increased by 38 last year, up from 114 in 2020.

In the executive director’s report, Bri Roll gave a year-end recap and a 2022 outlook.

Roll said she was thinking of words to describe 2021, and what came to mind was growth and learning.

“I spent a lot of time last year investing in partnerships in the community and getting familiar with our businesses and the buildings,” Roll said.

“The growth and learning opportunity was very valuable to me in my position to be better at connecting businesses with properties or even individuals with opportunities, and I felt that was a beneficial focus in 2021.”

Roll said they gained 19 businesses in downtown Seymour last year, which is huge because she was recently looking at some data when their five-year total gain was 30, so to accomplish 19 in one year is tremendous.

“We had four downtown relocations on top of that, businesses that moved to a different space, but we were able to retain them to the downtown area,” she said. “So we are very excited about that.”

Roll said in 2021, they partnered for another year with other area organizations for the Try Local First campaign, which took place around the holidays.

“We partnered with the Jackson County Chamber, Jackson County Visitor Center, Jackson County United Way, Aim Media, The Tribune, BKMedia, radio stations (92.7, 99.3 and 96.3) and Brownstown Ewing Main Street,” she said. “We wanted to collectively push the message of shopping local during the 2021 holiday season.”

Seymour Main Street was able to support a few other events from their partners — the Tea for Two event that was led by the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department and Booktober and the Jinglebook Stroll that were partnerships with The Magic of Books Bookstore, city of Seymour and the Jackson County Public Library.

“When thinking of words to represent 2022, I thought of refresh and refocus,” Roll said. “We’re going to be spending time this year refreshing some things we’ve already been doing and just giving them a little bit of a makeover.”

The organization will be working on items such as its website, the marketing plan, kiosk signs downtown, the overall grant process and also contact management will be changing.

Leah Branaman gave the 2021 financial review and said in a year where some events were tabled and there was a lot of uncertainty, overall as an organization, she felt like Seymour Main Street did very well navigating and being able to maintain and do what it was able to do.

“In our general membership campaign, we set a goal of $20,000 for our 2021 budget,” Branaman said. “I’d like to thank Bri and her efforts in increasing our mailers and exceeding that goal by $8,000.”

She said during 2021, the organization was awarded several grants to help cover administrative expenses during the pandemic.

“We received $15,000 from the 2021 Indiana Main Street Grant that was applied for by Bri,” Branaman said. “We also had a $2,000 grant from Duke Energy Foundation for Mellencamp park plaza, the grassy area next to This Old Guitar, and we had a Greater Seymour Trust Fund grant for $750.”

In 2020, $15,000 of CityJam income was collected, but concerts were canceled due to COVID. All 2020 sponsorship payments collected were applied to 2021 concerts.

Roll said Seymour Main Street uses a four-point approach with the following committees: Design, economic vitality, organization and promotion.

There were several reports from those committees and special recognition of outgoing directors Jim Noelker and Beth Veatch, whose second terms are expiring after six years, but both will continue to serve on their respective committees.

Incoming directors are Tyler Kimbrell and Brian Terrell.

Ashley MacTavish said the promotion committee has the same goals as 2021, promoting downtown events, only this year, they plan to include small giveaway items at those events, such as pens, magnets, hand sanitizer, etc., and they hope to have a successful year.

Roll reported on behalf of the design committee and said last year, they were able to replant all of the downtown flowers with the help of volunteers from Day of Caring and commissioned a new mural, which is a collage of the history of Seymour, located on the west side of Artistic Impressions.

“We did a lot of brainstorming of ideas, such as decorative crosswalks and signage and a gateway project welcoming people to downtown Seymour, murals, logos and branding,” she said. “The main project for this committee for 2022 is to develop and request a proposal for a professional design firm to come and assist us with our downtown vision, which is a very large task.”

Tyler Thias reported for the economic vitality committee, whose role is to attract business to downtown Seymour.

“The overall goal of economic vitality in the past year gave grants of $120,000 to 17 recipients, and those grants were shared with build-outs being the biggest portion, rental assistance, signage, awnings, facades and down payment assistance,” he said. “In the coming year, that budget will be increased from $121,000 to $126,500, and some of the plans include meet-and-greet with current downtown businesses, a revamp of our welcome to new businesses and evaluation of real estate.”

Veatch reported for the organization committee, who she said has a responsibility of the behind-the-scenes dealings of the organization.

She said in 2021, they spent a lot of time on the membership campaign and met their membership goal in the first quarter of the year, and it was exciting to see the year jumpstarted.

Incoming board chairwoman Branaman said, “As an organization committee, we have decided that most of our goals for 2022 center around a new Maestro software system, which will really enhance the volunteer aspect of our organization.”

Maestro Community Manager is organizational management software used to manage contacts, business, properties, work plans, reporting and more.

The proposed officers for 2022 are already serving in those roles from the previous year: President, Melissa Acton; vice president, Thias; treasurer, Leah Branaman; and secretary, Melody Hageman.

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