Discover Downtown Westbrook, the new name for Westbrook’s Downtown Coalition, was the topic of our program on November 14. Abigail Cioffi, Executive Director of DDW, shared some history of this just 3-year old organization which is working with businesses, the community, and the city to promote and revitalize Westbrook’s downtown.
 
The Downtown Westbrook Coalition was formed in 2014 as a Downtown Network Community. The organization grew slowly but steadily until March 2016 when they conducted visioning to develop transformation strategies. By November of 2016, they had established a Board of Directors and developed bylaws. Since then, they have organized several fundraisers.
 
 
The organization chose to follow the National Main Street model in design and development of their strategic plan. Retain what we have. Enjoy what we have. The March 2016 visioning exercise identified a few keys areas of focus.  One is the river, a beautiful asset that runs through the heart of the city. Another is the creative economy. Many artists live and work in Westbrook. We also have been beautiful historic buildings - some of them hidden gems – like Walker Library, Presumpscot Place and the former mill buildings.
 
This year, DDW became a 501c3 and submitted an application to be designated a national Main Street Community. This designation was made official this month with the celebration held on November 9 at Foster Place which was covered in the American Journal: city-earns-main-street-title
 
 
The goal is to stimulate the economy and bring new people to Westbrook - both businesses and residents - while building on existing assets. People travel to communities because they are Main Street Communities.  With the new branding Discover Downtown Westbrook, campaigns might take the form of Dine Downtown Westbrook, Shop Downtown Westbrook, Swim Downtown Westbrook, etc. The possibilities are endless. 2018 will kick off with working on these transformation strategies.
 
To hear more about the Main Street Communities initiative, watch this video on You Tube: Main Streets in Action
 
L-R: Phil Spiller, Vice Pres DDW 
Abigail Cioffi, Exec Director DDW
Dan Stevenson, Economic Dev Director Westbrook
Deb Shangraw - President DDW
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