WILLIAMSBURG — Williamsburg Downtown is a relatively new non-profit economic development organization that was created in 2020 in tandem with the City of Williamsburg. Its mission is to enhance awareness and economic vitality of Williamsburg’s downtown business district.
Adam Steely, who serves as a board member with Williamsburg Economic Development Authority and Williamsburg Downtown, said the idea was born after a consulting firm suggested the city partner with Main Street America to ensure an energized downtown area.
“We wanted to find the best practices for a unique town like ours,” said Steely. “The main goal is to enhance, improve, and add vibrancy to downtown Williamsburg.”
One of the stipulations of working with Main Street America is that the area of focus must create a stand-alone, independent nonprofit to begin the process of revitalization.
In 2020, Williamsburg Downtown received a Main Street America grant to fund the revitalization project. “We want to make sure the energy level is there and that we are doing everything we can to make our downtown appealing; a better place to live, to walk, to shop, and to dine,” said Steely.
Williamsburg Downtown’s board of directors is composed of residents, business owners, faith leaders, and community advocates who work together to implement and support community projects and events. Steely has worked in the restaurant industry for 40 years and is co-owner of Blue Talon Bistro on Prince George Street and owner of Illy Café on Duke of Gloucester Street.
The nonprofit distributed a survey to learn more about residents and how they interact with the downtown district. With more than 100 responses, the group is thankful for community engagement and hopes to receive more input for future endeavors.
“The first thing we wanted to do was help attract folks to the downtown area during the holidays,” said Steely. The organization has secured Yankee Candle’s former Santa Claus for photos with Santa for children and pets that will run November 26 through December 24 at 439 Prince George St. Registration is required.
For more information on upcoming events and opportunities to volunteer with Williamsburg Downtown, please visit their website at www.williamsburgdowntown.com.