Foundation will promote North Bend
July 5, 2012
By Michele Mihalovich
A new nonprofit organization has been established to help promote downtown North Bend, and help improve and expand events held in the downtown area.
The main goals of the North Bend Downtown Foundation, established in May, are to promote downtown and improve the look and feel of downtown, said Geoffrey Doy, president of the foundation board.
Doy, a Snoqualmie Valley School District board member, recently joined North Bend’s Economic Development Commission.
He said the commission has a lot of ideas about adding new events to the current lineup, like the Block Party and Holiday Lighting Festival.
“We’re trying to add a Pumpkin Festival in October,” he said. “So the foundation can be a vehicle for helping to make that happen, financially. The foundation can get sponsorship so that the city isn’t burdened with having to try and fund all these events.
“The foundation could use some of its money to purchase better lighting for the Holiday Festival,” he added. “Or we could purchase more planter boxes or fund Fourth of July fireworks … whatever the community would like us to focus on.”
There are a couple of plans in the works for raising money.
Foundation members will work the beer garden at the Warrior Dash to earn money for the nonprofit, he said.
Last year, members of the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, which focuses on promoting businesses in the entire Valley, worked the Warrior Dash’s beer garden and raised about $25,000, according to Doy.
This year’s Warrior Dash isn’t expected to attract 23,000 attendees this year like it did last year because two Warrior Dashes are being held in Washington this summer, but Doy still thinks the foundation could raise between $10,000 and $20,000.
Another opportunity to raise money has come about due to a change in the Iron Horse Relay route.
This year, the relay, held in September, is going to end in North Bend, rather than in Seattle.
Gina Estep, North Bend’s economic development director and a board member of the foundation, said that was a perfect opportunity for North Bend to promote itself as the outdoor recreation center of the Cascade Foothills.
Doy said the foundation will rent booths to “high-class, recreational vendors” who will show off their wares to relay participants.
“Not only are the relay racers being exposed to what downtown North Bend has to offer, but those vendors are being exposed to the area and could be potential businesses that relocate here,” he said.
The foundation will also man a beer tent at the finish line to help raise money.
Doy said the foundation envisions about 15 regular events a year that will attract the local community, but also, “attract people who’ve never been here before, and possibly businesses that would eventually like to locate here.”
Estep said North Bend’s historic district is at a slight disadvantage, when compared to the shops at the North Bend Outlet Mall.
“They have one marketing department that promotes all the shops in the mall,” she said. “The foundation is a way to give all the downtown businesses a voice and get the word out about what the area has to offer.”
Right now, the foundation is also trying to get more members.
“It’s quite a bargain at only $10 per year,” Doy said. “We only have our five board members, but we really want to get input from the rest of the community. We want to hear what’s important to them.”
The City Council on June 27 approved a $10,000 grant for the foundation.
Doy said that money will be used to get a website up and running about all the recreation and tourism opportunities available in and around North Bend, which would be available through the city’s website.
Doy said he will also ask the city for a $10,000 grant to help fund a part-time events coordinator.
He said the foundation will pay for a coordinator once it gets some revenue in.