Elgin downtown association develops ideas
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The Downtown Neighborhood Association plans to have marketing materials in both English and Spanish for events such as the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market after hearing input from this week's brainstorm event.
Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer
The first "Downtown Brainstorm" of the year in Elgin will result in concrete action, including making sure marketing fliers are in both English and Spanish, organizers said.
Jason Pawlowski, managing director of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, said about 40 people attended the event this week at The Centre of Elgin. It was designed to elicit input about downtown Elgin.
Topics included supporting existing businesses, recruiting new businesses, enhancing downtown's image, and much more, Pawlowski said.
"It was a very focused discussion to talk about ideas (people) have or ideas they feel would be valuable to downtown," he said.
It became clear the DNA needs to reach out to different ethnic communities in Elgin, Pawlowski said.
"I think our people all recognize the fact that Elgin is a diverse community and we need more of a proactive effort of marketing to other cultures, other ethnicities," he said. "We are blessed with a lot of diversity in Elgin."
As a result, the DNA will have fliers in English and Spanish to promote the June 6 launch of the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market, Pawlowski said. The market will run 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday through October at 200 N. Grove Ave., across from the Gail Borden Public Library.
The DNA has produced marketing pieces in Spanish in the past, but that's something that has "fallen off" in recent years, Pawlowski said.
The DNA is also planning bilingual fliers for the upcoming Fourth of July parade, and will translate parts of its new business directory set to be launched in June in conjunction with the DNA's "We Heart Downtown Elgin" initiative, Pawlowski said.
The brainstorm event also pointed to the opportunity to reach out to commuters who take the Metra, Pawlowski said. Elgin has Metra stations in or near downtown on Chicago and National streets.
"Many of those people that use that train maybe are not Elginites, maybe they come in for business or what not, and it's a chance to expand our footprint," he said.
The DNA will reach out to Metra officials to figure out what kind of activities it can conduct, ranging from placing posters to passing out fliers to setting up a booth with coffee, he said.
This was the DNA's fourth brainstorm workshop since 2010. Previous events have proved valuable, he said, noting the changes to downtown parking policies.
The DNA's next brainstorming session is likely in September or October, Pawlowski said.
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