Downtown Santa Barbara Welcomes Partners, City Staff to Annual Retreat

The Santa Barbara Downtown Organization (SBDO) Board of Directors met for their annual Board retreat on January 25th, with one huge objective in mind: prioritizing a long list of goals to tackle in the coming year. From the manageable (website improvements) to staff-related (how to grow DO events such as 1st Thursday) to the long-term (a 5-year plan), Directors emerged from groups with the list, ideas, suggestions and plans.

City Administrator Jim Armstrong, along with Assistant City Administrator Paul Casey, shared updates on city projects as diverse – and important as - La Entrada, The Funk Zone, the single bag ordinance, a first class children’s library and the new children’s museum, breaking ground soon. Sargent Ed Olsen of Santa Barbara Police Department reiterated the department’s focus on issues facing downtown businesses.

In a breakout session, Ken Oplinger (The Chamber of Santa Barbara) confirmed his organization’s desire to continue to strengthen the long-time partnership with Downtown Santa Barbara. Councilman Dale Francisco, introduced as the new City Council liaison, expressed his desire to help the Downtown Organization move forward with its plans for 2014.

New Board President Gene McKnight stressed the importance of the prioritizing method, “We want to be sure we know which of our goals are staff, board, committee or City driven, and which can be accomplished in 2014.” Along with President McKnight, newly elected board officers include: Vice President Roger Durling (Santa Barbara International Film Festival); Secretary Traci Taitt (The Towbes Group) and Treasurer Matt LaBrie (LYNX Management). Additionally, staff reported increases in Downtown Santa Barbara event participation by members (up 60% for 1st Thursday, 55% for Film Feast and 42% for Shop Spree SB).

The Downtown Santa Barbara is a membership-driven, non-profit organization whose goal is to maintain and enhance the business and cultural activity in the downtown area. Helping keep downtown Santa Barbara clean, attractive, safe and vibrant goes towards supporting this goal. Presently, there are more than 1,400 members who benefit from the Downtown Santa Barbara’s commitment to excellence and its ongoing efforts on their behalf. Some of the programs, activities and events sponsored by Downtown Santa Barbara include the Downtown Holiday Parade, the Downtown Art & Wine Tour, the decorative State Street Flag Program, 1st Thursday and 1st Thursday: After Hours, Shop Spree SB, Downtown Safe Trick-or-Treat and Film Feast. Like us on Facebook (Downtown Santa Barbara), follow us on Twitter (@SBDowntown) and follow us on Instagram (@DowntownSantaBarbara) for the latest info on events, specials and downtown information.

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