There’s a lot of momentum building in downtown these days and those behind the effort hope there are other residents with an interest in helping to build on the progress that’s been made in recent years.
The Garner Revitalization Association is a bit of a hybrid organization. Though it’s supported by the town and includes a staff member who is a town employee, the GRA is its own non-profit organization and it is more than just an advisory board to the town’s elected council.
Like many small organizations, GRA board members are asked to consider wide-reaching policy matters, but they are also asked to put a little elbow grease into the organization’s business.
Mari Howe, Garner’s Downtown Development Director, says service on the board is a good idea for people who have an interest in helping preserve the unique nature of Garner’s downtown.
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“We can use people with a wide variety of skills,” Howe said. “Someone with strategic planning skills is perfect. Someone who is interested in marketing or real estate would be great.” But Howe isn’t limiting her options. About the only real requirement for membership on the board is the ability to attend the group’s monthly meetings and a willingness to participate on one of the board’s two standing committees.
The board currently has six members, though its bylaws allow for between five and nine members. Howe said two of the long-standing board members have expressed an interest in stepping aside, but they continue to serve while the group seeks some new blood.
Patrick Byrd, the GRA’s current chair, says service on a community board like this one is rewarding for people with an interest in serving their community. “Any time you join a community organization, you get out of it what you put into it. The historic area of downtown is the original heart and soul of our town. You want to preserve that history and see it thrive again,” Byrd said.
Howe said the time commitment isn’t overwhelming. Monthly board meetings last about 90 minutes. Board members are also asked to volunteer for one of two committees: an arts and culture committee which helps organize and plan events in the downtown area and a development committee which helps market downtown to prospective business owners. Board members are also asked to work eight hours per year at some of the GRA’s public events.
Anyone interested in service on the board can contact Howe at 919-773-4402 to learn how to apply.