Walking Up Main Street: Happy holidays, everyone!
Even if you aren’t a holiday fan, you can’t help but at least appreciate this time of year. Whether it’s seeing family and friends, taking in the lights, or the food or beverages that only come around this time of year, there is something to give you a boost. What is the common thread in all of this? Change. The scenery is different because of the lights, the food is different, even the demeanor of people changes a bit.
Downtown Rhinelander Inc. is changing, but more importantly, Rhinelander is changing. And just like the holiday items, the changes can give you a boost. The organization recently took a good look at itself and with the help of the people, we now have a new perspective that gives us a direction. The next steps will be focusing on the outcomes, all of which will involve various groups, from businesses to individuals. The new year is going to be busy, exciting, and I’m sure, full of surprises.
That is the other thing that happens this time of the year-the anticipation of the new year and the reflection of this past year. I can only speak about DRI from August on, but wow. In that short amount of time, so much happened. There were seven events, the implementation of the I Buy Local program, the continuation of other programs such as the flower baskets and the Hodags on Parade, and an increase in the activity with the Downtown Works (loan program for downtown businesses). DRI worked with kids; high school students participated during Trick-or-Treat and the Kids in Need program helped to spruce up the downtown. The media have been truly gracious in helping. The DRI organization itself received a new interim director, completed a survey, elected new officers and is currently working on a strategic plan.
On a personal note, I had no idea just how intertwined Downtown Rhinelander was with the whole community. I was naïve in my thinking. The list of partnerships and the connections is incredible: the City of Rhinelander, the chamber, Oneida County Economic Development Corp., Oneida County Fair, the Ambassadors, ArtStart, the VFW, the Rhinelander Railroad Association and so many more. This is just the tip of the connection iceberg.
Then there are the volunteers. There are so many people who give for the sole reason that they believe in their community. The desire to make this community thrive, to make it better, fuels so much generosity of time and money that it is humbling. It is important that you know that every dollar and every ounce of sweat is truly noticed and appreciated.
No one knows what the new year will bring. We need to remember that we can look toward it with trepidation or grab it by the hand and run. I have personally asked Santa for the economy size bottle of hand lotion.
From Downtown Rhinelander, happy New Year! May the new year bring you prosperity, kindness and courage.
Maggie Steffen is available at the Rhinelander Main Street office, located at 21A S. Brown Street. Call her at (715) 362-7374 or email [email protected]