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Updated Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 3 PM EST
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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 04/25/12
DDA director plans to
enhance Romeo's good points
by CHRIS GRAYThe Romeo Downtown Development Authority (DDA)'s new director is seeking to build bridges and enhance what downtown already has going for itself.
Observer Staff Writer
The DDA has hired Kim Hale as the new part-time director, who will officially begin next month.
The DDA has been without a director for eight months. DDA Chairperson Christine Malzahn said a study of nearby DDAs resulted in the decision to hire a part-time director after letting go of its DDA coordinator.
Hale was chosen from 21 applicants and was approved unanimously by the DDA board. The DDA's decision was ratified by the Village Council with the caveat that the DDA reconsider some changes to Hale's contract.
Malzahn said the DDA will look over the contract changes at its May meeting and sign it then.
She said Hale is already familiar with the Romeo Downtown Blueprint document, and expects that she will have a positive influence.
"I'm excited that she would come on with the skill set that she brings, the enthusiasm that she's going to bring to downtown," Malzahn said. "She already sees some areas in which she can effect change with our limited budget."
Hale said she sees the Romeo community as already having a lot of great assets to work with, but it's a matter of bringing them together and cultivating them.
"I'm a real marine when it comes to implementing," she said. "I think that's probably the thing in this job that is almost going to be the more important skill set."
More specifically, she said it'll be taking events that the area already has in place like the Peach Festival or Victorian Festival and turning them into two-way streets for businesses and officials.
"We also have to look for ways<not that they aren't already<so that it becomes a full circle, contributing and benefiting," she said. "How can downtown contribute and benefit from the Peach Festival, and how can the Peach Festival contribute and benefit downtown."
Hale is expected to begin regular office hours starting next week, where she will be in three days a week.
Until then, Hale said her goal is to meet with village officials, merchants and key stakeholders to get to know the community better.
"There's a real desire to kind of take a fresh start and move forward," she said. "Everyone wants the same thing, and that is to see this community really grow and prosper."
Hale was born and raised in North Dakota, where she went to Minot State University and double-majored in English and art. She then went to Syracuse University in New York and earned a master's degree in advertising and marketing.
She worked in large advertising agencies in New York for 12 years, then married and moved to Minnesota. She worked at an international advertising company while in Minneapolis.
They moved to Oxford, where Hale did consulting work until she became executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County.
During her time there, from 2002 to 2004, she said she was the only employee and they built one home a year. When she left, they had six employees and built 10 homes a year.
She and her family moved back to Minneapolis, but eventually returned to Oxford. She continued her consulting until she was hired by the DDA.
"It brings together all the stuff I like to do," she said. "Building bridges, marshaling volunteers, developing strategies, creating."