AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

April 2, 2013

Olde Town in need of new leader

Planners review staffing options

By Felicia A. Petro/Senior Reporter
Allied News

GROVE CITY — A new Olde Town manager is needed in downtown Grove City but organizers are in no hurry to fill the spot.

Olde Town manager Julia Anderson resigned the end of last month, followed by her assistant, Melissa Danielson, according to Mindy Steigerwald, president of the Olde Town initiative.

Julia - who was hired in November of 2011 - said she wanted to pursue other opportunities, Steigerwald said.

"Melissa had her hours cut significantly and she resigned shortly after Julia," she added. "She was heavily involved with the (Winter) Wine Walk and stayed through that event and worked the weekend finalizing everything."

Steigerwald said Olde Town has three applicants interested in the manager's position, which pays approximately $35,000 a year but offers no benefits. This time, members would consider giving a smaller pay and adding benefits for those interested in that option.

"We have to be particular about who we hire because, by June 1, we have to apply to be a Keystone Community," Steigerwald said. If accepted, the accreditation would give credibility to Olde Town and open it up to receiving state grants. 

"It puts our community in a position that we're looked on favorably by the state," she noted.

Olde Town had been under the state's Main Street Program, which has included seven years of grant money, including an "exit phase" the last two years to prepare it to be self sustaining.

Main Street money could be used for staffing, but now Olde Town has enough money to cover staff costs until 2014, Steigerwald said. "We'll continue to raise money for that effort."

However, Olde Town is considering using some of that money to hire a professional to write the Keystone grant before hiring a new Olde Town manager, she noted.

"All our volunteers are busy, and I don't have time to learn how to write a grant," Steigerwald said. "Some people very skilled at that, so we're considering the possibility to contract that out."

Steigerwald, Mary Jo Palmer, Dave Dayton and Grove City College volunteers have committed to man Olde Town's South Center Street office in the meantime.

Olde Town has four committees and about "40 volunteers total," Steigerwald said. It is a subcommittee of Grow Grove City, which holds a non-profit status.

The downtown office is being revamped into a meeting/conference space that can be sublet to various groups to generate income, she noted.

Volunteers will also have to take care of upcoming events, such as the April unveiling of the next two parking sculptures being made by George Junior Republic art students. However, "Julia had 90 percent of that completed," Steigerwald said.

The summer Farmer's Market is organized by Palmer and her husband, Ed; Downtown Summer Sounds is being reconsidered this year, since the summer concerts cost about $7,000 annually and "It hasn't taken off in a big way" to support that amount, Steigerwald said.

She believes Anderson did well managing these events during her short tenure.

"Julia is a really outstanding young woman," Steigerwald said. "She had her first job with us out of college. At times she was overwhelmed but she handled herself with dignity and grace. She a great gal. I have nothing but positive to say about her."

Anderson could not be reached for comment.

Published March 13, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.