Getting down to basics with OTCA

Here’s the secret weapon of the Old Town Commercial Association: Former directors never die, they just end up on a committee helping the association move forward.
 
Such is the case with Jamie Schriner-Hooper (2005-2009) and her successor Brittney Hoszkiw (2009-2012).
 
They serve on the Organization Committee, a snore-inducing name that belies the fact that it acts as the glue that keeps OTCA together by promoting memberships and volunteerism.
 
The Org Committee makes sure Old Town businesses pay their dues. It recruits members who live, work or simply love the neighborhood. It pursues partnerships and sponsorships with community leaders and businesses. And it coordinates fund-raising to support OTCA, one of the rare non-profit models in the Michigan Main Street program.
 
Most Main Street organizations capture tax money from a DDA (downtown development association) or special assessment money from a Principal Shopping District.
 
Not OTCA. The organization must earn its keep and retain its great reputation and service every day to ensure that donations and membership dues continue to flow.
 
Do you love the glow of Old Town’s streetlights on a calm summer night? Do you love the flowers in Turner Park? Do you love Festival of the Sun and Oktoberfest? Do you love the community feel that make Old Town special?
 
Those are the compelling reasons to pay membership dues, donate time and money and participate in OTCA fundraising events. All are crucial to maintain and expand on Old Town’s fun vibe.
 
The committee’s mission is not to just focus on the numbers game of dollars and participants, says Organization Committee Chair Jamie Schriner Hooper.
 
“When someone comes down and volunteers for Festival of the Sun, we don’t want them to think they’re just pouring beer in a parking lot,” says Schriner-Hooper. “We make them aware of the larger vision of why they’re doing this.”

While this may sound like a pitch for membership dues, well, it goes beyond that. The Organization Committee is currently recruiting members to join Schriner-Hooper, Hoszkiw, Ena Busby, Summer Schriner, Brad Back, Shannon Rolley and Meegan Holland.

 
Current Executive Director Louise Gradwohl – who may never escape Old Town either – also attends the meetings.
 
If you’re interested in volunteering on the committee or in any capacity, contact Jamie at oldtownjamie@gmail.com.