Even as downtown Enterprise prepares to usher out 2018 with Winterfest, some folks are already dreaming of a cheery spring in 2019.

Enterprise Main Street was the focus of a lot of attention in 2018. Seeds of growth have been planted.

Oregon Heritage Grants and Outreach Coordinator Kuri Gill met with the city last spring and recommended the Enterprise City Landmarks Commission and the nonprofit business group Greater Enterprise Main Street lay plans with the help of a professional coordinator from the State Historic Preservation Office. 

Such a collaboration, and the attention of the professional coordinator, better positions Enterprise groups when they apply for grants. 

The Main Street group is responsible for Summerfest, Winterfest and placing Christmas decorations downtown. The group also acts as support for other groups (such as the Wallowa Valley Community Ice Rink) when they write for grants.

Although cities do not sponsor groups seeking grants, the approval of a plan by the city is important to grantors. Cities are often asked for letters of support to show they are both familiar with plans and in favor of them and are sometimes required to act as “pass through” agents for grants — such as is the case for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Grant to build the Jensen Field Indoor Sports Facility project in Enterprise. 

City Administrator Lacey McQuead reported the recommended collaborative meeting between Enterprise and the state organization is set for early spring 2019. 

A representative from the Oregon Parks and Recreation also met with developer Andy McKee recently for a tour of the downtown area and to discuss grants and the grant application process.

McKee has been working on a request for a State Historic Preservation Association facade grant for the Litch Building on the corner of Main and River streets and has reason to believe a well-prepared and well-supported plan would be looked upon kindly.

City government has additionally created a Downtown Improvement Committee tasked with coming up with promotion ideas based on information gathered in interviews of Main Street business owners.

“We’re in the process of getting feedback,” said committee member Micah Agnew. “We’ve talked with business and building owners, but we’re still in the vision-casting mode. We’ve started to dream about what we can do to unify the feel of this town and make it the best it can be for everybody.”

Committee members have begun sketching out a new logo for the city, engaged in talks on how to brand the city as a destination, and investigated the ways in which other cities have directed visitors to the downtown area. 

“One thing we’ve discovered is that there is a blend of history and new life here,” Agnew said. “The entrepreneurial spirit is common in our valley, and people are looking for new angles on things, new products — but we also don’t depart from the heritage of the valley. The question is how we highlight the unique blend of old and new that we all enjoy.”

It’s an exciting process, said City Administrator McQuead. 

“I think all of this attention and action is a good thing, for sure,” she said.

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