MYRTLE CREEK — Representatives from the city of Myrtle Creek, the Myrtle Creek-Tri City Area Chamber of Commerce and local businesses have been collaborating for the past eight months to reach a set of goals through the Rural Development Initiatives program.
They first came together in spring 2016 to strategize ways to increase the town’s economic vitality. They chose to focus on beautifying downtown and marketing Myrtle Creek as a nice place to live and visit.
“I have a vision and goal to revitalize downtown so it is a destination,” Jerrie Thomas, owner of Goodog Bones in Myrtle Creek, said, adding that she wants Myrtle Creek to plug into the hype around shopping small.
“We have a beautiful little town and what it needs is to fully develop,” added Sony Murray of Sony Murray Realty.
Almost 20 people met Wednesday evening at City Hall to reflect on their successes and to plan for the next three months of the Economic Vitality Roadmap process.
“You’ve done a lot as a community, and the goal of the roadmap is to give you a sense of engagement and bring people to work together with multiple organizations,” RDI Rural Economic Vitality Director Mary Bosch said to the group.
The group has split into two committees. One committee, called Magic Works, is dedicated to making the downtown area more inviting. The Bring ‘Em In committee is working toward advertising Myrtle Creek’s assets, including its many parks.
The committee members compiled photos and information of seven local parks to create a brochure, which was distributed to visitor centers from Portland to Yreka, California.
“I’m really proud of the Bring ‘Em In committee, they did such a great job on the parks brochure,” Dani Raines, the group sales manager at Seven Feathers Casino Resort, said. “I sell this area and this is one of the tools I can use.”
In the coming year, this team is looking into the possibilities of buying billboards along Interstate 5, creating video vignettes about the town and compiling a schedule of local events to hand out to residents and tourists.
The Magic Works committee has been working with the Main Street Program in hopes of turning downtown Myrtle Creek into a scenic place to stroll. One of their goals is to assess downtown property fronts, report to the property owners and help them repaint or fix their facades to beautify the area. The team has also designed new, unique street signs to catch the eye of passersby. Each includes a logo that has to do with the area, such as timber, a bridge and prunes.
In the near future, the committee plans to install the new street signs, meet with property owners and investors, and help clean up and improve buildings on Spirit Day, May 13.