Westminster has a lot of positive attributes that the Greater Westminster Development Corp. can help retain and expand, the group's chairman told the mayor and City Council last night.
"I'm old enough to remember when Westminster had a very vibrant downtown shopping district," said Thomas Ferguson, who also is president of Carroll County Bank and Trust. "It's different now. But there is still a lot of uniqueness about Westminster."
The 38-member, not-for-profit organization, based on a similar group in Frederick, grew out of recommendations in the 1990 Advisory Task Force on Downtown Renaissance. The corporation members, who organized in November, said they plan to focus on ways to retain businesses and market attractions that people need to visit, as well as institutions people want to visit.
The corporation expects a first-year budget of $90,000, with $50,000 from the city government and $40,000 from industry donations, grants and in-kind services, Mr. Ferguson said.
"We're going to need the city to kick-start this organization," Mr. Ferguson said. "We need to send a strong message to the community that we're serious about this group and that the city is serious as well."
The group will have an executive steering committee, and an executive director who will coordinate subcommittee work and make decisions, he said.
"I'm sure one of your questions is why we're coming right out of the gate with a paid director," said Mr. Ferguson. "We feel that if we really want this organization to be successful, you have to have an executive director with the experience, education and training to run an organization like this," he said.
Westminster's City Council is expected to vote on the proposal at its next meeting March 14.