WASHINGTON, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– A new organization has been established to help the City of Washington revitalize it’s downtown area.

“Discover Downtown Washington,” consists of a 13-person board, with four committees: Economic vitality, organization, design and promotion. Board president Dustin Davis said a community forum, held in December, helped spark his interest.

“I was probably one of the first ones to ask a lot of questions,” Davis said.I was interested, trying to figure out the program itself, and I came to the conclusion it’s a great thing for downtown. We need to be organized, we need to have the resources in order to take it to the next level.” 

Washington Mayor David Rhoads said a similar group, named “The Heartbeat of Washington,” was around before, but eventually stopped around the end of 2020. He said, starting with the meeting in December, he’s been working with local leaders to create this organization.

“We started having these meetings, and we reached out to other business people on how we make downtown Washington a better place for businesses and for the citizens to enjoy, and make downtown more vibrant than it has been,” he said.

Davis said that feedback was crucial in establishing the organization. The four committees come from principles laid out by Indiana Main Street Program. Davis said that program laid the groundwork for what their goals will be.

“Our overall vision is to create a great space that the community can enjoy,” he said. “We really want to promote relationship and community, and our downtown is the heart of the community, that’s the best place to do that.”

Davis said they want to help promote and support current businesses, while making the community more attractive for new ones. He also said maintaining the historic integrity of the city was important.

“These buildings are all 100 plus years old, they all have unique stories of different business owners that have been in them over the years, we want to promote that,” he said.

The group has been meeting on a weekly basis for the past couple of months. He said they are currently working to apply for grants and set up events in the area.