The Hamilton Downtown Association (HDA) has hired Russ Lawrence as part time director. Lawrence took the reins at the beginning of June and after one month is already being called by some, “Mr. Hamilton.”
As former co-owner of Chapter One Book Store, Lawrence brings some hands on Hamilton downtown business experience to the job. He also brings some experience from Peru, where he and his wife worked as U.S. Peace Corps volunteers serving as Small Business Development advisers.
Lawrence said that the HDA and the Downtown Hamilton Business Improvement District (DHBID) have thrown in together to pay for his services on a trial basis. He said the DHBID is a semi-governmental agency created by the Hamilton City Council. The District is strictly defined and business owners within the District are taxed to support the DHBID. DHBID supports numerous programs and events, including the Performing Arts Series at the PAC, Tournaments, and various events with Hamilton Downtown Association. The HDA, on the other hand, covers a broader swath of city, “from bridge to bridge,” according to Lawrence. Established in 2011, the purpose of the HDA is to re-invest in and maintain the vitality of the Hamilton business community, to promote Hamilton as a cultural, historic, entertainment and business destination, to reach out to the residents of the valley to educate them on the city’s products and services and the importance of supporting local businesses, and to contribute to the vitality and well-being of the community. HDA’s annual events include: Crab Feed, Daly Days, Hamilton Buy Local Auction, First Fridays, Moonlight Madness, Halloween Parade, and the Christmas Stroll.
Lawrence described his duties as manifold, including promotion and marketing of the city as well as the city’s businesses. He said a vibrant community translates into more sales at downtown businesses and helps fill empty buildings with more businesses.
Lawrence said he is currently engaged in getting 501(c)(6) status for the association. He recommended the organization’s website – www.hamiltondowntownassociation.org – as a good place to keep track of local community events.
Lawrence can be reached at 360-9124 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.