Downtown Development Alliance changes its focus

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Shelly Birkelo
Friday, May 23, 2014

JANESVILLE—The Downtown Development Alliance celebrated a change in focus Friday night from the roof of the downtown parking garage at North Parker Drive and East Wall Street.

The event focused on getting people to know one another, building community atmosphere and pooling efforts to maximize opportunities to be successful, said Kyle George, alliance event committee chairman.

“The synergy is going to help create events, excitement and economic development for the downtown,” he said.

The alliance's focus was broader in the past and included government relations, property management and issues, concerns and ideas revolving around that, George said.

Now, the alliance will pool its efforts by working with nonprofits, business owners and other community leaders to create events that will spur economic development and a more vibrant downtown that “really shows off a city's priorities,” he said.

The downtown has a lot of history—wonderful architecture, many nonprofit groups, the performing arts center, library and the Armory, George said.

“Accentuating that part of Janesville and celebrating our history is an important and virtuous thing to do,” he said.

About 65 people who have a passion for downtown and seeing it succeed were expected to attend Friday's invitation-only event he said.

“We kept it small to get our feet wet with the process of organizing an event on a larger scale,” George said.

The hope is the event will be a segue into larger events downtown where the public is invited, he said.

George said the alliance provides a leadership role downtown to promote economic development, encourage preservation, enhance the quality of life and increase opportunities for events in Janesville that promote business expansion and retention and offer a friendly, entertaining and unique place for folks to gather, shop and start a family.

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