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Dawn Bennett, Downtown Main Street Board president, speaks at the annual meeting Friday in the Sheldon Theatre. (Republican Eagle photo by John R. Russet)

DTMS continues to grow

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Downtown Main Street, a non-profit association interested in the protection, preservation and development of the Red Wing downtown district, will soon become one of two nationally accredited downtown associations in Minnesota.

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The mission of DTMS is to “improve the community's quality of life by strengthening the downtown as the center of the community through education, volunteerism and concentrated efforts in design, promotion, economic restructuring and organization,” according to its website.

National accreditation brings additional benefits to aid in their goals, said Jill Prahl, DTMS interim program director.

Access to more training seminars as well as an increase in technical benefit dollars are just a few of those advantages, Prahl said.

“I really strongly believe we can build a better organization and a better downtown,” said Dawn Bennett, DTMS Board president and former owner of Body Kneads, at the annual meeting Friday night at the Sheldon Theatre.

There is more to look forward to in 2014 than just national accreditation, however, Prahl said.

“We’re looking at a year that’s full of great strides,” she said, adding DTMS is continually looking at ways to maintain the history of Red Wing, promote the downtown area, improve economic development and maintain the organization’s base, which is at the core of what members do.

One of those strides is the hiring of an executive director, made possible through a grant from the city of Red Wing, Prahl said.

She said the search is nearing its end and an offer should be made sometime this week to secure the new executive director.

Another DTMS project in the works for 2014 is a restaurant recruitment and incentive package aimed to bring at least one new restaurant to downtown this year.

The project is planned for three phases during which businesses will pitch their ideas to a committee with the end goal of opening by December 2014. The project is slated to launch this month.

This year is also a time to look beyond 2014, Prahl said, and members will begin preparing for road construction projects planned for 2015.

Some of the highlights from 2013 include the debut of the movie “The Price of Sand,” hosting many seminars, Holiday Stroll and Trunk or Treat, which brought over 2,000 kids to downtown and had 36 businesses participants. 

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