MSCB, Inc. is Now Bluffs Downtown!

Your Downtown Champions!

As anticipated since last year, MSCB's board of directors recently voted to rename the organization as "Bluffs Downtown." "We wanted a name that readily conveys our mission," says Joshua Barbee, Executive Director of Bluffs Downtown. "We feel that 'Bluffs Downtown' more readily communicates the purpose of our organization; it says who we are, where we are, and what we are focusing on." "While we incorporated as 'MSCB', that name has always been a place-holder, so this has been anticipated," says Rob Gilmer, president of the Bluffs Downtown board of directors. Barbee further stated, "Bluffs Downtown is working to engage Council Bluffs and Omaha residents to live, invest, work and play in historic downtown Council Bluffs. We will achieve this by developing a Cultural and Entertainment District for the 100 Block of West Broadway."

"Our approach takes the best of two strong Iowa models, Iowa Main Street and the Iowa downtown Cultural and Entertainment District program," says Valerie Ware, chair of the Organization Committee of Bluffs Downtown. "We combine them in ways that enhance efforts by existing organizations and leverage the entrepreneurial energy of downtown businesses to fill the historic downtown with life."

Bluffs Downtown board member and Promotions committee chair Matt Johnson projects "The year 2014 will be the best year yet for Bluffs Downtown. We have an exciting calendar of events planned for downtown! We are organizing three street dances, three fun runs, two nighttime bike rides, and hopefully, a harvest type festival. And of course, the Main Street Farmers Market will continue to be held Thursdays on the 100 Block of W. Broadway, May through September."

Another project Bluffs Downtown is tackling in 2014 is to beautify the downtown district. Working with the City, Bluffs Downtown is developing a hanging basket program like the baskets shown in this photo from Racine, Wisconsin's downtown.

Beautification of the downtown neighborhood will:

• Attract specialty businesses and people to downtown and build a sense of community pride

• Help establish a thriving cultural and entertainment district for the 100 Block of West Broadway to draw more people downtown

• Attract new retail and restaurants to draw more people downtown

• Support/encourage market rate housing to be developed downtown

• Support/encourage property renovation to attract and retain downtown businesses

"Our 'Basket Case' will start with two test baskets and light pole brackets. Once the City has had a chance to test them and ensure the safety of residents, we will expand to have 14 baskets around Bayliss Park and 18 baskets on the 100 Block" according Ware. "We wanted to start small to ensure the program is successfully managed. Each succeeding year we plan to add more baskets to downtown."

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