Downtown Group has New Director, New Programs

It's an exciting time for the Pleasanton Downtown Association. In addition to hiring a new executive director, Tim Meese, the PDA was also recently admitted to the acclaimed California Main Street Program.

Meese, an Oakland native, began his career in corporate retail management in 1982. In 1997 he joined the Oakland Commerce Corporation, a not-for-profit business services organization that assists companies with retention and economic development strategies.

Meese is very enthusiastic about the 492-member PDA. "There are already a lot of things that are occurring that are very positive including the events throughout the year. We can capitalize on the things we are doing and make them even better."

For example, he wants to create more opportunities for merchants to market themselves to the people coming downtown for events like the PDA's First Wednesday Street Parties.

"We want to provide our members with new opportunities to interact with the public and present their goods and services," he says.

The PDA is planning a cross-promotion between the restaurants and the retail stores, and special marketing of the restaurants on their website. The organization is also looking at bringing in compatible retailers to fill new vacancies that enhance existing retailers.

New resources will also be available to the PDA after its recent certification by the California Main Street Program, joining only 37 California cities. Run by the California Commerce Department and affiliated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center, the program helps to revitalize and maintain downtown commercial business communities, offering a host of informational and monetary resources to its members.

Meese recognizes the importance of the Main Street designation. "It's a great program because it brings the city, business people and residents together to form a partnership to revitalize your downtown community, with Design, Economic Restructuring, and Marketing and Promotions committees. It also provide resources, training, avenues for obtaining grants, and help from other Main Street programs."

Membership in the PDA is not limited to downtown businesses. Associate Memberships are open to any business in the Tri-Valley. Associate members are given many of the same benefits that regular members receive including listings in the downtown directory, booth space at the 1st Wednesday Street Parties, and invitations to PDA social events. In addition, monthly board meetings are open to anyone in the community who would like to attend.

Meese said that PDA is very grateful for corporate event sponsors. Several Hacienda tenants have taken that role recently. Last year Robert Half International was a major sponsor of Heritage Days, PeopleSoft came forward to sponsor Concerts in the Park, and CarrAmerica helped sponsor 1st Wednesday Street Parties.

For more information about PDA, contact Meese at (925) 484-2199. The PDA office is located at 830 Main Street, in the historic Cheese Factory building. Their website is available at .

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