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Groups nearing merger in Dixon

Council will discuss plan for Main Street, Riverfront Commission

Published: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

DIXON – The official merger of the Dixon Riverfront Commission and Dixon Main Street could come “sooner rather than later,” an official said.

Larry Reed, Riverfront Commission chairman, said that when the commission met Jan. 3, it was the first time members had discussed the merger with representatives from the city. The commission supported the proposed merger, he said, and expected for it to be completed in the near future.

The merger was scheduled to be a discussion item on the City Council agenda for the Jan. 6 meeting, City Administrator David Nord said, but when that meeting was canceled, it was moved to the Jan. 21 meeting.

At that next council meeting, a presentation will explain how the newly aligned organization will operate, Main Street Executive Director Josh Albrecht said.

Then, the merger could be voted on during the City Council’s first meeting in February, Nord said.

A recommendation to merge the Riverfront Commission and Main Street was presented to the City Council in September. It came from a three-person committee that had studied Dixon Tourism, Main Street and the Riverfront Commission.

That committee was led by Police Chief Danny Langloss, who was serving as special assistant to the council. Langloss also led the presentation Friday, Reed said.

“The Riverfront Commission is in favor of the recommendations of the report and willing to work forward to carry on the mission as it was outlined,” Reed said, “with maybe one little caveat or exception or desire, we put forth as a commission.”

That desire was to maintain the Riverfront Commission’s 501(c)3 tax identification, which took a lot of time and work to establish, Reed said, and is part of the Riverfront Commission’s identity.

Nord said he was in favor of that tax identification being kept because of the work put in to obtain it and the value it has in pursuing grants and fundraising efforts.

Because the Riverfront Commission is planning some aspects of summer events, Reed said, making the merger official soon will be beneficial from a planning perspective.

When the merger does become official, the new organization will be ready to “hit the ground running,” Albrecht said.

“It’s something that we’ve been working toward for several years now,” he said. “And it’s exciting that we’re getting to that stage.”

With the merger, a new full-time position could be created to handle marketing the events on the riverfront and downtown, Albrecht said. That’s a position Main Street feels is important, he said, and is more than could be handled by a volunteer or part-time employee.

During Friday’s meeting, Reed suggested that Kay Miller, executive director of Heritage Crossing, could be maintained during the transition period, Albrecht said, which is something the Main Street board will consider.

One of the goals of the newly aligned group will be to make the riverfront a “premier venue place” Albrecht said, with events nearly every weekend.

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