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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/25/13
DDA director looks to
by CHRIS GRAYJudy Sproat, the executive director for the Romeo Downtown Development Authority (DDA), said an important part of her job will be helping Romeo's "front porch."
Observer Staff Writer
"Downtowns are serving almost as the community front porch<they're gathering areas," she said. "I think people are wanting to engage again, and it's a platform used for that kind of communication."
Sproat began her first week as the DDA's part-time executive director on Sept. 17, saying she hopes to improve the DDA's marketing and assist in finding resources for downtown businesses in her new role.
Sproat has a degree in business administration from Walsh College and held a career as controller for 16 years at Brass Ring Productions before it closed in 2001. She then served as the executive director for the Holly DDA, the marketing director for the Rochester DDA and as planning and economic development director for New Baltimore before arriving in Romeo.
"I can hit the ground running having had that experience," she said. "I'm passionate about traditional downtowns, especially small business owners and helping them out in any way I can."
She said her past experiences have connected her with the Macomb County Planning and Economic Development department, which she said can assist her in seeking grants or helping connect people and businesses to resources.
"There are resources that many businesses don't know about, so part of my job is just to educate people," she said.
She admitted support is tough in an economy returning from the recession, but believes there is an up-tick in the recovery.
"Obviously Romeo weathered the storm pretty well," she said. "There aren't many vacancies, and that is a very good sign."
She said the Romeo community seems to support its downtown already, so she hopes to step in and continue that environment. She said part of that will be improving the marketing side of the DDA, mainly through its on-line presence.
She said she plans on assisting in the coordination of downtown events as well, such as with the Romeo Merchants, Restaurants and Professionals Association (MRP) or the Greater Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce.
"I'm just delighted to be here, and I know that the DDA, MRP, the chamber, the administration here, I know everybody works together," she said. "I just look forward to engaging in that relationship."
The DDA offices, located at 134 W. St. Clair St., are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, though Sproat said the hours may change in the future as needs change.
The DDA can be reached at (586) 752-1170 or www.romeodda.org.