Welcome to December and the Downtown Waterbury Holiday Season. Calling all Volunteers! We need your help! That’s right. Main Street Waterbury needs your help with our ongoing projects to revitalize downtown Waterbury. If you are creative, work well with people, and are enthused about the future of Waterbury, we want you.

It seems these days that organizations, schools, sports associations, and civic groups are always looking for volunteers, donations and support. In order to survive, many non-profit groups depend on fundraising, grant writing and donations. In order for them to be successful, they need bodies. People to step up and help out. That is exactly what makes our Country so great.It is truly an American tradition and one of our greatest resources. When everyone pitches in to help a certain cause or group excel, the quality of life improves for their respective communities.

Main Street Waterbury certainly falls in this category. Our lifeblood is our volunteer base. Thus far, we’ve been very fortunate to have a core group of dedicated people who have gone above and beyond to help us achieve our goals. But our projects and efforts require so much more help.

Being a Main Street volunteer carries a certain set of responsibilities but more importantly can be a very rewarding experience. The fact that you are contributing directly to the betterment of our community should certainly be the number one motivator. Main Street volunteers give their community a gift that gets paid over and over again in the form of increased hometown pride, successful businesses and much more.

Our Main Street Waterbury volunteers on all four committees of Design, Organization, Promotion and Economic Restructuring as well as the Board of Directors meet on a monthly basis to discuss, plan, and implement the annual work projects for our revitalization efforts. The projects may require your talents in planning and organization or you may be the type that likes the hands on, roll up your sleeves activities. Either way, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to contribute. To that end, listed below are the current Main Street Waterbury volunteer opportunities. Please keep in mind that this list is always a “work-in-progress” subject to change as more projects come on line.

-Assistance at Main Street Events (e.g., Thomas the Tank, Farmer’s Market, etc.)
-Set up and breakdown
-Booth coverage
-Brochure Design
-Web site design and management
-Write newsletter articles
-Distribution of Promotional and Events Materials throughout Downtown.
-Downtown Ambassador Program – Ambassadors serve as greeters to Waterbury events sponsored by Main Street Waterbury. (Both chaperones and ambassadors are needed)
-Mailings, follow up and other administrative tasks.
-Restaurant recruitment – A consultant has determined that downtown Waterbury can support 7 or 8 more restaurants. Help us to recruit them.
-Data entry. Database management.
-Project management and events planning for specific events. (e.g. Eat Your Art Out)
-Distribution of promotional materials to downtown locations. Adopt a window or planter and be responsible for its maintenance. Assist in the audit of the physical characteristics of the Main Street area. -Mural painting committee.
-Internships available for standing committees: Promotions, Organization, Design, Economic Restructuring

As you can see, there’s much to do involving all aspects of our program. In addition your suggestions and ideas are always welcome.

In other Main Street Waterbury news, you may notice in the next couple of weeks new additional holiday lights in our downtown district. Thanks to a grant from the City of Waterbury plus privately raised funding from downtown businesses, we’ve been able to implement Phase II of our Downtown Waterbury Holiday DÈcor Program. The downtown streets that have new lights this year are East Main, South Main and Bank Streets. In addition, you may also notice new banners on the poles leading into our downtown district. This is the start of a more comprehensive seasonal banner program that we hope to expand on for next year.

The Downtown Merchants are very pleased with the turnout last month for their second annual Mardi Gross Halloween event. There was a great many more families and children downtown compared to last years attendance figures. Some estimates are in the 4000-person range. There was also more candy to give out thanks to the generous donations from many businesses and individuals. I’m told, 18,000 pieces of candy were given out. It was great to see all of the costumes and watch the expressions on the faces of the children as they passed by Mardi Gross, took a hayride, and listened to the music from the bands playing at Exchange Place.

Speaking of events, can you believe it has been a year since the Palace Theater reopened. I have to say, from all indications, their first year of programming was a smashing success. This year’s line-up is even better. My wife Sandy and I went to see Miss Saigon in October. The performance was outstanding. True quality entertainment in Downtown Waterbury. Now, if we could only attract more restaurants into downtown that would be even better. But that’s a story for another column.

Finally, I would ask that you seriously consider offering some volunteer time with your expertise and talents to Main Street Waterbury. If you are interested, call my office at 203-757-0701 ext. 302 or upi contact me via email me at crosa@mainstreetwaterbury.com