The incoming executive director of the Main Street Dartmouth Business Improvement Association says this is a very exciting time for her to be taking over her new job.
"I have been learning a lot from our outgoing director, Bill Mills," said Graziella Grbac who takes over from Mills on Sept. 1. "I would love to be able to stick a wire from his brain and transfer all his knowledge directly into a computer. He is leaving us with a big legacy."
The Main Street Dartmouth Business Improvement Association was incorporated in July 2008 and is governed by a member elected board of directors. The association is focused on bringing back a sense of community to the Main Street area, where people will enjoy working, shopping and being entertained where they live.
Grbac says her goal is to continue to grow a strong and distinct neighbourhood identity in an age of shopping malls and big box retailers.
Forty years ago Main Street was a destination shopping area for those coming from places like Ship Harbour and Jeddore. K-Mart was a popular anchor store then on Tacoma Drive.
Today, the area is much more diverse and now boasts a new book store and hygienist along with several restaurants, schools, retailers, law offices, banks, realtor and residences.
"Our association recognizes that we can develop a thriving, competitive and safe business area that will attract even more new businesses," said Grbac.
Over the past few years the association has worked hard to build and sustain a new pocket park on the corner of Main Street and Woodlawn Road, has hired a cleaner to pick up garbage along Main Street, has installed gateway signs and area branding, supports network meetings between businesses, installed benches and litter baskets as part of implementing streetscape improvements and has taken part in community events like school productions, the Maritime Fiddle Festival, Natal Day Parade, Remembrance Day and the Great East Dartmouth Summer Barbeque.
And Grbac says mascot Mikey has been instrumental in giving a face to the association.
"By partnering with the community and its events we can promote pride in our area. People will see that we are not just a place that you drive through on your way to somewhere else."
Bill Mills says he has had an exciting three and a half years at the job.
"I think we have started the ball rolling in building this association. It was new concept at the time to think about building a community in order to attract new businesses, but we have done that. It works. I may be leaving this job, but I will continue to keep my eye out on Main Street and on Dartmouth."
Anyone interested in network meetings or other info can contact the association below:
Main Street Dartmouth and Area Business Improvement Association
Suite 208 - 175 Main Street
Dartmouth, N.S. B2X 1S1
Tel 902 407-3533
Fax 902 407-3534
Cell 902 220-3200