‘Get our downtown sparked again and growing’

The newly-formed Twin Towns Business Partners Committee is hoping to use money allocated from the city of Wahpeton and other entities to put on and promote downtown events between mid-October and December 2019.

With a 4-0 vote, the Wahpeton Finance, Personnel and Economic Development Committee is recommending the city allocate $10,000 to the newly-formed Twin Towns Business Partners Committee.

The money will come from Wahpeton’s sales tax for economic development fund. The business committee will use the funds for implementation and promotion of five events between mid-October and December 2019.

“We want to get our downtown sparked again and growing,” said Wanda Seliski, executive vice president of the Wahpeton Breckenridge Area Chamber of Commerce.

Councilman-at-large Perry Miller, who motioned for the allocation on Monday, Sept. 9, mentioned the understanding that the business committee will seek additional sources of financial assistance in the future. Councilman Rory McCann, 1st Ward, added that the city committee will be following up with the business committee in early 2020.

“We absolutely want to be accountable,” Mickie Mohs said. “I want to come back to you guys in January and say this is what we did, here’s exactly how much we spent, here’s how my sales were affected.”

Mohs, owner of Indigo life + style in Wahpeton, was joined by Seliski, The Golden Rule co-owner Todd Mears and Wahpeton Ace Hardware owner Ted Pietron to speak in support of the funding request. Attendees indicated businesses in Wahpeton and Breckenridge, Minnesota, would participate.

The proposed event schedule is:

• “Java Jump,” to be held Saturday, Oct. 12; participating businesses would serve the coffee of their choice and offer individual promotions; Saturday, Oct. 12 is the day North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton, will hold its homecoming football game; projected cost is $600, including $500 for pumpkin painting expenses, $50 for posters and printing and $50 for social media promotion (the latter two are recurring expenses)

• “Hunting Widows Weekend,” to be held Friday, Nov. 1-Saturday, Nov. 2; businesses would offer individual promotions, with five drawings for $100 in promotional chamber cash; projected cost is $600, including $500 for drawings expenses

• “Jingle and Mingle Holiday Open House,” to be held Tuesday, Nov. 26; the event would be held in conjunction with Wahpeton’s downtown Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Heritage Square; businesses would offer individual promotions, with 10 drawings for $25 in chamber cash; the drawing winners will be youth ages 13 and under; projected cost is $350, including $250 for drawings expenses

• “Cookie Crawl,” to be held Saturday, Dec. 14; the event would be held in conjunction with the arrival by train of Santa Claus in downtown Breckenridge and Wahpeton; businesses would offer cookies, refreshments and individual promotions; projected cost is $600, including $500 for Gallery on the Go expenses

• “Customer Appreciation Drawings,” to be held Monday, Nov. 25-Saturday, Dec. 21; daily drawings of $100 in customer appreciation cash, a total of $2,400; winners would be drawn live at 10 a.m. daily on the chamber’s Facebook page; customers would be given tickets with purchases from participating businesses; projected cost is $2,500

The remaining $5,350 of the $10,000 allocation is earmarked for the printing and perforation of chamber cash ($1,050) and advertising on the radio ($3,000), in the newspaper ($1,000) and in Southern Valley Living magazine ($300).

“I’m glad to see the retailers are coming up with some ideas,” Miller said. “They’re the ones in the trenches.”

The Twin Towns Business Partners Committee is a revamp of the chamber’s previous retail committee. Since the chamber’s membership includes more than retailers, Seliski said, the former name is less than accurate.

Seliski said she is planning to request additional funding from the Wahpeton Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Breckenridge Port Authority.

The next Wahpeton City Council meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16 at City Hall, 1900 Fourth St. N. in Wahpeton.

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