The Downtown Revitalization Strategy created in 2014 is proving to be the call to action many leaders in the Charlotte community were looking to see. A joint meeting of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Can Do! and the Downtown Development Authority on Wednesday, March 11 highlighted work being done by six task forces identified and created in January.
Each task force has met and begun working towards established goals identified in the Downtown Revitalization Strategy, which is the result of three economic summits held in Charlotte last year. The task forces include Michigan Main Street, marketing, recruiting, M-50 truck traffic, community events and farmers market. A seventh task force — community beautification — will also be established in the coming weeks.
Each task force is open to anyone in the community interested in revitalizing Charlotte. Meeting times will be posted on the City of Charlotte’s website —
The Michigan Main Street chair Yvonne Ridge, Charlotte City Councilmember, reported that the task force will be working on an application to join the Michigan Main Street program at the associate level. Applications aren’t officially available until November, however, Ridge reported that Charlotte has been invited to fill out its application early in an effort to be able to participate in training this calendar year. There is no cost to be a Michigan Main Street member at the associate level and all training is provided at no charge.
Marketing chair Julie Kimmer, director of Courthouse Square and Charlotte Public Schools Board of Education president, presented a first draft of a marketing brochure that is intended to attract young professionals to opportunities in Charlotte. She said the marketing task force is also working at branding that will tie all marketing efforts together. Additionally, the task force is working on beefing up the community’s social media presence.
Recruiting chair Garrett Bensinger, president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce board of directors, reported that the recruiting task force is busy collecting a lot of data, including taking an inventory of existing businesses and consolidating a listing of available commercial property. He said the task force is also working on a community survey he hopes will help identify the kinds of businesses or services community members would support in the future.
M-50 chair Bryan Myrkle, Community Development Director for the City of Charlotte, said the task force has established its goals, which include reducing or slowing semi-truck traffic through downtown, improving pedestrian signalization downtown and improving way-finding signage.
Community events chair Grace Boehmer, executive director of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, said the events task force has combined with the Chamber Ambassadors and already have several community events in the works. Chamber Ambassador chair Jeana Rohrs said upcoming events include the “Have a Shot in Charlotte” St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl on Saturday, March 14, a Downtown Revitalization Business Awareness Meeting on Thursday, March 26 at 7:30 a.m. in the Spartan Room at the Charlotte Community Library, Eaton County Home & Business Expo on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19 at the Charlotte High School and Celebrate Charlotte in June.
Speaking on behalf of Farmers Market chair Kellie Hanford, Myrkle reported the task force is moving forward with a Thursday Farmers Market to be held in conjunction with the DDA’s free Concerts on the Square series. A meeting with organizers and potential vendors was also held March 11.
For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Strategy, contact Myrkle at (517) 543-8853 or visit for meeting dates and times.