Business owners and supporters of all things Dartmouth are meeting the second and fourth Thursday every month at Cafe Brea to chat about developing and sustaining a strong and vibrant future for the City of Lakes.
Founded last summer, the group welcomes anyone who is interested in preserving the history and character of Dartmouth.
"We want to support sustainable development, influence necessary infrastructure change and increase awareness of local businesses," said Bill Mills, one of the founders of the group.
As the former executive director of the Main Street Dartmouth Business Improvement Association, Mills has been a long time supporter of keeping Dartmouth residents interested in their community.
"By meeting here at Cafe Brea we are networking, becoming like a lobby group and coming up with ideas on how to make Dartmouth better. It is not as good as it could be."
Mills says the protest against the development on Prince Albert Road last year was discouraging.
"And other areas of Dartmouth have to be looked at too, like Wyse Road and Windmill and Pleasant Street. These areas are declining."
Declining development all around and a lack of direction are not the only concerns, said Mills.
"Look at the wonderful theater we have at Prince Andrew High School. It is dark 340 days of the year. It shouldn't be."
The way to inspire residents to take action and to even care, says Mills, is to inform them.
"So a group like Grow Dartmouth is important in reaching everyone."
Greg Field is the sales director at Mingle Publishing. He says he attends the Grow Dartmouth meet ups in order to pitch advertising and meet new people.
"And it is important for Dartmouth to have its own event like this one at Cafe Brea. There have always been Halifax networking and business type events, but this is good for the people of Dartmouth, to have their own."
There are about 40 people at each meet up, says Mills, and they welcome newcomers and new ideas.
"You never know who you are going to see here."
Another offshoot to the Grow Dartmouth group is that they are planning to build a database of names and businesses for all to use.
"We need to support one another and look to the future," says Mills. "Where are we going and what will we do? Bring your ideas to the next meetup."
The next Grow Dartmouth networking group will be at Cafe Brea on Jan. 24 at 9 a.m.
Grow Dartmouth is on Facebook.