When Main Street of Hope met for the first time earlier this year with its new executive director, Matt Lee, at the helm there was much work that needed to be done. Now, not even six months later, the organization is setting its stride and working to establish a more bold presence in the community, Lee says.

In a recent meeting, Main Street announced that it officially named its board, officers and has formally established the organization’s policies, or bylaws, which will be officially adopted January 1.

When Lee initially took on his role earlier this year, he established a tentative timeline for when he wanted to have certain goals met.

Above all, he wanted to have the board established and officers elected before the first of 2022… and so he has.

Recently elected to office are:

  • Jason Eckart, president;
  • Ed Cottrell, vice president
  • Jenni Richards, secretary
  • Heather Galloway, treasurer.

Additional board members include, Jessica Brown, Teresa Turner, Michael dean, Jovanda Cave, Thomas Barrett, Nadina Pardue, Pete Law and Lynn Whittington.

“With everyone in place now, actually we are a couple months early on meeting that goal,” Lee says. “Since we are little bit ahead, we can look forward to what we will be doing next year.”

Heather Galloway says this is her first experience being a part of an organization like Main Street, but it is something she is certainly looking forward to, she says.

Galloway was previously been involved in helping to plan the Hope’s Cruise-Ins and says her involvement included not only promotion, but also working the event’s registration table, she says. That is how she came to meet Lee and become involved with Main Street.

Lee invited Galloway to a Main Street meeting and, as they say, the rest is history.

It was Galloway’s appreciation for not only the uniqueness of Hope that fueled her desire to get involved, but the community’s welcoming ambiance and close-knitness that showed her she made the right decision to move her family from Indianapolis to Hope five years ago.

“In Indy it is very big and busy and hard to get really connected and plugged in with anything,” Galloway says. “So, moving here it just seemed like there were a lot more community things my family could be a part of and that has been really exciting to me – all the events they do for families. And that is why I was excited to be a part of Main Street and to help be a part of the planning of events. It is just fun for me.”

As she looks ahead, Galloway says Main Street has a lot of really new and fresh ideas that will be exciting for the community, she says.
Since voting in its board and electing officers, the next goal on the agenda was establishing a set of policies as groundwork for procedures, protocols and expectations, Lee says.

“Main Street of Hope did not have any bylaws prior to this,” Lee explains. “Bylaws have been talked about for a long time, maybe even years, and it was one of the key things I wanted to jump on and get it done. We wanted to get it done by January 1 and here we are a couple months ahead of it, too.”

The vote to make the policies permanent will be in December, Lee says.

Among Main Street’s remaining goals, Lee says, is to get events for 2022 on the calendar and flesh out the details as soon as possible. When he initially took office, Lee says it was his job to make sure Main Street stayed accredited with Indiana Main Street, Main Street of Hope’s parent organization, which is housed under the Heritage of Hope umbrella, Lee adds.

“I was told to just make sure we stay accredited and not worry about any new events going up to the first of the year and then worry about new events maybe into 2023,” Lee says. “I took that as a challenge and I had decided, ‘OK, what we are going to do is at least one new event before the first of the year and we are going to add new events going into 2022 just to show we can do it.”

That first new event became Main Street’s inaugural Breakfast with Santa event at WILLow LeaVes of Hope, scheduled for later this month, Lee says.

He says offering new events and engaging the public is essential to building an approachable rapport between Main Street of Hope, the community and downtown business owners.

The previous Main Street team had Chamber of Commerce meetings periodically at WILLow LeaVes where business owners were encouraged to come mingle and talk about any concerns, issues or thoughts they were having. Lee says that event will return in January 2022, with a twist.

“Every quarter we want to get all the small businesses together, feed them, ask them if there is anything they need from us or if they have any concerns we can help them with – like event promotion or press releases,” Lee explains.

He says it is simply a matter of creating an open door policy and amicable relationship between Main Street and area businesses.

“I would like to know what their goals are for 2022 and what we can do to help them,” he says. “And if they don’t want our help that is OK. We just want to be easy to get along with.”

Looking ahead to next month’s meeting, Lee says he has been nothing but smiles.

Thrilled with progress so far, Lee readily admits, the only thing left to do now is build – not only by further establishing Main Street’s presence in the community, but offering a whole new gambit of events and offerings.
The key to accomplishing Main Street’s goals is having a great group of talented individuals to work with. And Lee has that covered.
“After the last meeting, I walked away smiling so big because I was so happy with the team we have,” Lee says. “This team we have is excellent.”