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By Melissa Smith

Tribune Staff

After being without a director since mid-September, MainStreet Fremont has filled the position.

Fremonter Emily Kranz will work as MainStreet director part time beginning Tuesday, and, after the first of they year, she will work full time.

Although she hasn't had time to identify specific goals for the program, Kranz said she likes the idea of a more pedestrian-oriented downtown. Also, Kranz added, she thinks it is important to use landscaping as an economic tool.

The former Iowa woman said her interest in the concept of downtown began about two years ago when she was living in Des Moines. She had seen a television program that told the stories of three cities' revitalization.

"It got me interested in downtown revitalization," she said. "I think it is so interesting how design effects economic development in cities."

Once she moved to Fremont in March, Kranz contacted then-director Terry Tourville about job opportunities with MainStreet Fremont. Although there were no paid positions available, she eventually became a volunteer for the program's design and Christmas committees doing organizational work, sitting in on meetings and planning events.

That experience, Kranz said, helped poise her to be director, especially since some of her fellow committee members were also board members.

MainStreet Board President Dan Rosenbaum said he looks forward to working with Kranz.

"She's a neat gal," he said. "I think she'll be a great asset for us. She's good with people, so she'll be out on the street introducing herself."

Kranz said she plans to do just that.

"There are a lot of people on the board and in the community I'm looking forward to meeting," she said.

"I have a genuine interest in seeing the community grow and prosper from a healthy downtown. I think MainStreet is great in Fremont. My first impression when I saw Fremont for the first time was they had a great downtown."

One of Fremont's downtown assets she said, is the variety of businesses.

"I think there's some great stores downtown, and I know those stores in part pull people from Omaha and the surrounding communities, which is a really nice thing to grow from when you're thinking about building a downtown."

Kranz, who works at Abe Krasne's Home Furnishings, said she will continue to work there at least part time during the holiday season because she doesn't want to leave her employer short-handed during this hectic time of year.

Her husband, Matt, works in Omaha. They have a daughter, Elaina.

Kranz replaces Tourville, who resigned to spend more time with her family and friends. Tourville had been with MainStreet Fremont since its inception almost five years ago.

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