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Local

Chamber Main Street reflects on progress

DIXON – The Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street gave the City Council an overview Monday on its progress across the last year.

The city started taking steps toward merging the chamber and main street organizations in late 2015 with the focus of creating a hub for promoting the city's tourism, economic development, riverfront operations and business support.

Stacey Colledge, president and CEO of Chamber Main Street, said the group will be putting together an annual report on its progress early next year but presented a few highlights and preliminary community survey results.

The city allocates $250,000 to the organization, and not including salaries, $157,514 has been spent this year on grants, awards, financial support, advertising and events as well as investments in the Dixon Welcome Center and the riverfront.

The bulk, $78,300, has gone toward 15 community events and recurring events such as the city market and riverfront yoga along with five business support programs including lunch and learns and educational seminars.

Chamber Main Street created several new resources and programs for businesses and organizations including microgrants, tourism awards and revolving loans, totalling about $38,800.

About $31,500 was put toward advertising, $6,000 was spent on the welcome center, and $2,830 went to riverfront maintenance costs.

In February, the group started pursuing a market analysis survey to better gauge the interests and thoughts of community members and visitors, and Colledge said they've received about 687 responses so far.

"The survey is intended to allow for a better understanding of Dixon's current tourism, retail and recreational trends and allow us to guide development in a direction consistent with the public's interests," she said.

Participants are characterizing Dixon as a "friendly" community and said the top issues facing the city are a lack of retail options and family friendly amenities, with them wanting more restaurants and entertainment options.

The survey is available online, paper copies were mailed to residents with their water bills, and the deadline is Jan. 31.

Visitor surveys will likely run another year to allow for more responses. Colledge said they received input from 65 visitors. About 70 percent are older than 45 and 95 percent said they would visit Dixon again.

"It goes to show that we're doing something right," she said.

Next meeting

The City Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at City Hall, 121 W. Second St.

Go to discoverdixon.org or call City Hall at 815-288-1485 for an agenda or more information.

Take the survey

Call 815-284-3361, go to discoverdixon.com or find the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and Main Street on Facebook for more information or to take the survey.

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