Main Street organization launches Friends group

Alex Doty • Apr 20, 2018 at 2:00 PM

A new program has been crafted to help those who love downtown Grand Haven raise money for its Main Street programs.

The Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority has launched a program called 100 Friends @ $100, which encourages people who care about the downtown to contribute at least $100 to help the organization.

“The goal is to raise $10,000,” said Main Street Chairwoman Sharon Behm. “(But) if they want to give us $200, we’re not going to say ‘no, thank you.’”

Main Street officials say the new program will allow the organization to continue to recruit and maintain businesses, and enhance the downtown. The contributions will support beautification projects such as flower planters, banners, public art and bike racks, as well as special events taking place throughout the DDA district. 

“The DDA — we’re the ones who put up the lights at Christmas, the flowers in the flower pots from Harbor to the highway, including the garden by Mobil,” Behm said. “We’d like to do so much more with the beautification of downtown, but our budget, like everyone else’s, is extremely tight.”

That’s where the 100 Friends group comes into play, city officials say.

“It will be used to help our good work continue,” Grand Haven Main Street Executive Director Diane Sheridan said. “This is an opportunity for individuals to show their love of the downtown. We’re inviting our community members and visitors to Grand Haven to help love and care for our downtown.”

Sheridan noted that a similar “friends” program had been implemented in the past in another city in Michigan.

“Another community in Michigan, they successfully raised $10,000 in their program by having all of their ‘friends’ support the program,” she said.

Contributors will receive benefits by joining the Friends group — such as recognition online, special exclusive shopping days, special event invitations and more.

Sheridan said a brochure has been designed with information about the new program, as well as a slip for people to make a donation and join the group.

“It will be available at shops downtown,” she said. “It will also be available at our Facebook page or online (www.downtowngh.com/).”

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