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MainStreet Roswell gives city annual update

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[Note: This post has been updated.]

Even with the business shutdowns required by COVID-19 conditions and public health orders, some downtown businesses and events experienced strong sales days and large crowds as MainStreet Roswell sought ways to help businesses in its district, according to Juliana Halvorson, a member of the MainStreet Roswell board of directors.

Halvorson, also vice president and marketing director for Pioneer Bank, joined with another board member, Molly Boyle, to talk about what MainStreet Roswell did during the past year as they made the group’s annual presentation Thursday to the Roswell City Council.

The city has an agreement to provide annual funding for the organization, which preserves and restores the historic downtown area, as well as works to boost business activity and economic development in the area.

In the past, the city has provided $40,000 a year to the organization, which also holds fundraisers and obtains grants to support a budget with about $170,000 a year in expenses. In addition, this year MainStreet Roswell has a request before the Chaves County Board of Commissioners for $50,000 in funding. The county has yet to make a decision on that.

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Halvorson said that MainStreet Roswell helped struggling businesses survive the pandemic by developing an online business directory that included information about their social media sites and websites. The group also created a listing of available retail or business properties within their districts.

The nonprofit held two online shopping events that received 50,000 views, Halvorson said.

The group also held some of its usual events during the year, including First Fridays and the Farmers’ and Gardeners’ Market, with the state declaring the food-selling event an essential activity. MainStreet Roswell also coordinated “passport” and “scavenger hunt” events for the UFO Festival and the Chile Cheese Festival to encourage people to visit downtown venues.

It continued its annual holiday decorations and lights displays and voted to name two canines as mascots to appear at downtown events and on social media promotions.

Its Market Walk project that intends to transform a few blocks of property near the railroad tracks into an events venue is under design after receiving a state grant, and the group is awaiting the delivery within the coming weeks of 30 benches made from recycled plastic bottle tops that have been collected during the year.

MainStreet Roswell will keep about 18 of the benches, but the others will be given to the city of Roswell, churches, local schools and towns in Chaves County.