By The Glendale Star
After years of economic distress in the downtown Glendale area, local business owners will soon have a new manager to represent the best interest of the entire area.
City council voted unanimously to approve a five-year contract for $610,510 for the creation of a new downtown manager that will fall under the supervision of Glendale Chamber of Commerce in a public-private partnership.
“Redevelopment is one of the most effective ways to breathe new life into our city center,” City Manager Kevin Phelps said. “This exciting partnership provides the opportunity for the downtown business community to collectively identify and advance their shared priorities to meet the unique needs of downtown Glendale.”
Robert Heidt, president and CEO of the chamber, said the goal is to improve the theme and draw shoppers to the downtown area.
“The goal of this new position will be to give the businesses a voice to every department within the city government,” Heidt said. “We are looking forward to improving the communication between the business and the city.”
The chamber will lead the downtown merchant efforts in the presentation and revitalization of historic downtown Glendale. Strategies and plans will be developed to create a more diverse, livable and sustainable downtown, while encouraging new economic development.
According to city officials, the new public-private partnership will strengthen downtown Glendale and encourage an environment of activity, energy and vitality. Moreover, the partnership is intended to unite historic downtown Glendale partners and stakeholders in a common goal to increase the economic prosperity of business, and grow residential opportunities for the City of Glendale.
“Revitalization of downtown Glendale remains a top priority for our economic development team,” said Economic Development Director Brian Friedman. “In order to re-energize our downtown in a meaningful and sustainable way, specific strategic actions should be taken to diversify and grow our local economy. The downtown manager will facilitate, promote, and advance the efforts to revitalize our downtown core by building on the strong social fabric and superb physical characteristics of our historic downtown.”
Economic Development Officer Jessi Pederson said it is key for the downtown area to improve.
“It is key, because, think about it, everyone has to come to the downtown area no matter where they may be opening a business,” Pederson said. “You come to city hall to get all your information, so if downtown is thriving, it will spread throughout the city.”
Led by Heidt, the chamber will work cooperatively with the city’s economic development office to deliver downtown management services throughout the life of the contract by providing enhanced, direct services targeting marketing and economic development.
“Through our redevelopment initiatives and strategies, downtown Glendale will get the focused attention necessary to create jobs, revitalize the business climate, attract new businesses, and introduce sustainable new development,” Heidt said. “We will also help the city build a framework to positively influence and impact the economic health and preservation of historic downtown Glendale.”
Freidman said the communication between economic development is important to continuing the downtown area.
“We already work closely with the chamber, so this is just an extension of that and will give us a better voice on any issues that are happening in the downtown are,” Friedman said. “This new position will work closely with every department in the city to help with any issues downtown businesses may have.”
Heidt said this is a natural progression in the growth of the relationship between the city and
“We couldn’t be more proud of the relationship we have built with the city and its economic development team,” Heidt said. “For us, it’s all about promises made and promises kept, and we appreciate the vote of confidence the city council has given us.”
The three-year downtown manager contract begins July 1, and includes a renewal option for two additional years.