The Downtown Business Improvement District Board discussed its upcoming budget at its meeting Tuesday, including the creation of a new director position in collaboration with MainStreet of Fremont.
Chairman Tom Coday presented a budget proposal developed with Jerry Johnson and Brendan Murray of the Future Projects Committee that included income and expenses for MainStreet as well.
Taking input from MainStreet, Coday said the budget was modeled after Grand Island’s BID. By combining the two groups, he said larger projects with common goals could be made more possible.
The two groups would also pay 50% each for the salary of the part-time director position, which Coday said would have someone assist with projects.
“If we just have a director that could take care of those details if we want to do a larger project, whether it be speakers or a gathering place or whatever we want to do, there’s a million details you’ve got to know on the fly,” he said. “And if you don’t have somebody paid to do that stuff, it’s not going to happen.”
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Coday said MainStreet agreed to hire the director and pay its expenses prior to BID’s potential renewal by the Fremont City Council later this year.
Coday also said the proposal still keeps the money separate between the groups, as BID receives funds from the City of Fremont. He said MainStreet was planning on having the Fremont Area Community Foundation manage its money.
“If we’re going to partner together, we would have credible financial statements to share with each other,” Coday said.
Board member Vince O’Connor said the collaboration made sense, as MainStreet had assisted BID for as long as he could remember.
“It seems to me like it’s the best of both worlds, and right now, we’ve been expecting MainStreet to contribute way more hours than they’re actually paid for just because they’re nice,” Board member Ginger Rosenthal said.
Board member Richard Register was also in support, and said it was a good idea to follow the models of Grand Island and other communities.
“I think for some more stability and strength, I just think we’ve got to make sure we dot all the i’s and cross the t’s,” he said.
Mainstreet Board President Jill Gossett said her board was excited about the collaboration.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, and the timing is right to figure out how we can collaborate and work together, and then hopefully establish and make some goals that are more meaningful that we can work together on and see some progress,” she said.
Gossett said the board was also looking forward to help finding someone to fill the director position, as it has had difficulty in the past.
“I think if you had the right person and they had the right context, they definitely could grow the position to be something maybe eventually more full time if that’s what they’re looking for,” she said.
Coday said the board would have plenty of time to work out the details and get an agreement between BID and MainStreet.
“And if we’re happy with it, I think we can sell it to the city without issue on the management side,” he said.
O’Connor made a motion to further develop a presentation of the board’s finding to present to the city council no later than July that was unanimously approved.
The board also discussed the Fremont Hispanic Festival, which took place downtown on May 8.
“The weather was questionable at best, but it was a great festival, a great event and was attended pretty well,” MainStreet Executive Director Shannon Mullen said.
Mullen said the current plan is to have the festival every year, but instead host it in the fall. She said the tentative date for next year is Sept. 10, 2022.
Mayor Joey Spellerberg, who attended the meeting, thanked Mullen and MainStreet for their work on quickly pulling the event together.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was a great event, and I think next year it’ll get even bigger.”