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April 4, 2017

Main St. program restarts after almost three decades

Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Chairman Bailey Dabney introduces the Experience Old Town board of directors Monday.
Experience Old Town Warrenton
• What: Non-profit organization dedicated to preserving history and promoting economic vitality, businesses and social activities in Old Town Warrenton.

• Mission: To foster and inspire an environment in Old Town Warrenton that enhances economic vitality while preserving the historic character of the community; and to promote a rich and appealing cultural atmosphere to live, play and do business.

• Board members: 15 citizens, business owners, property owners and community leaders.

• Contributions: More than $4,000 so far

• 2017 events planned: First Fridays, Gumdrop Square.

• Established: 1989 as The Partnership for Warrenton, a National Main Street Program affiliate.

• Facebook: Click here
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Warrenton’s Main Street program has a new logo, name and leadership.

Experience Old Town Warrenton officially launched Monday after an 88-day “reboot.”

Fifteen new board members have assumed leadership of the nonprofit organization, dedicated to preserving history and promoting economic vitality, business and social activities downtown.

Bailey Dabney, publisher of the Fauquier Times, chairs the organization.

Lachelle Yoder from Allegro Community School for the Arts will serve as director of promotion.

“We feel that Allegro’s success is tied to a successful Main Street,” Ms. Yoder said. “It was a natural extension” to get involved.

Among other activities, Experience Old Town Warrenton plans to host First Fridays from May to October and GumDrop Square, the popular children’s shop with Santa during the Christmas shopping season.

The group has raised more than $4,000 in donations so far for the reboot, and the new board will meet in the coming months to complete the transition.

The Partnership for Warrenton has about $16,000 in its operating account, which the three-decade old group will transfer to the new organization, according to former Chairman Carter Nevill. That includes $10,000 from the Town of Warrenton. The town has budgeted $20,000 for the Main Street program in fiscal 2017, which runs through June.

“The energy of the new leadership, the new look is an attempt to remind everyone that if you value it . . . get on board,” Mr. Nevill said.

With help from the town staff and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the transition started in January, when a committee met to draft a reorganization plan.

The new leaders of Virginia’s sixth oldest Main Street program hope to regain accreditation this year, which will require hiring an executive director.

Virginia has 29 towns in the program, which VDHCD administers.

The local organization has operated without an executive director since March 1, 2015. The Partnership for Warrenton struggled financially and suffered embezzlement by its former chairman.

Town Manager Brannon Godfrey led much of the early effort to relaunch Warrenton’s program, starting last August with a community “visioning” workshop that attracted about 140 people.

  Experience Old Town Warrenton by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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