Mason County Memories… Supporting Main Street


By Chris Rizer - Special to the Register



I mentioned last week that Main Street Point Pleasant is getting ready to roll out a new membership and corporate sponsorship program, and I’d like to talk a bit about that before I get back to Mason County history.

As I’ve wrote over the last few weeks, our Main Street program is here to serve our merchants and improve our city, county, and region-at-large, build local pride, and foster investment. Our job is to search out grants and private funding, find ways to direct that investment toward downtown, and develop projects that benefit the community, raise our standard of living, and support the local economy. And of course, anything that creates jobs or spending in Point Pleasant will lead to jobs and spending in Gallipolis, and increased tourism in Point Pleasant and Gallipolis will spill over into the Bend Area.

Yet, those grants and private funds are typically for a specific project, like the Riverfront Park. Not a single penny goes into Main Street Point Pleasant’s operating budget, so we have to find creative ways to fund the program and match these state and federal grants. Thankfully, an annual appropriation from the City and donations from the Krodel Christmas Fantasy light show help keep the doors open, but they don’t leave any room to expand our services, support workshops and seminars for businesses, or match major grants and invest in downtown.

Way back, when Main Street Point Pleasant first opened in 1988, there was a membership program. People were involved in our downtown and genuinely wanted to help it succeed, and Main Street led seminars and workshops for business owners and worked with corporate partners to offer historic facade grants for downtown businesses. But, priorities changed, and major projects like the Riverfront Park pushed membership programs aside.

Now, we’re of the opinion that we can, and should, have both. We need major infrastructure projects, like the upcoming construction of a new farmers market, to stimulate investment and bring new traffic downtown. But, we also need events and advertising and workshops and seminars and all of the other little things that make both businesses and a Main Street program successful. That is why we’re rolling out this membership and sponsorship program.

Starting February 1st, anyone interested in joining Main Street Point Pleasant can see me at our office at 305 Main Street, email me at crizer@pointpleasantwv.org, or download and mail in the membership form soon to be found on our redesigned website (pointpleasantwv.org). To join, an individual membership is $25, a non-profit or organization membership is $30, and a business membership is $50, and in joining, all members receive benefits specific to our organization.

All members are guaranteed attendance and voting rights at our annual meeting, at which board members and officers would typically be elected and priorities decided for the next year.

All members will also be able to purchase tickets to events, seminars, and workshops at greatly discounted prices. In a normal non-COVID year (which we hope can resume in late summer), this would include the Sleighbell Ball, Spring Fling, Summer Soirée, Halloween Masquerade, and First Fridays, along with whatever seminars and workshops are scheduled that year. These could be on tax credit projects, grant writing, window restoration, marketing, or any number of other topics.

Businesses, corporations, and individuals can also sponsor these events as advertising opportunities and would have their logo and information added to the event’s promotional materials, along with an opportunity to speak and promote their interests at the event. That sponsorship amount would change depending on the theme and budget of the event.

Additionally, corporations (or individuals!) may also join Main Street Point Pleasant as sponsors. Sponsors, like members, would receive voting rights at the annual meeting and discounted tickets at events. They would be recognized and advertised on our social media accounts, on our website, and at our events, and they would receive access to discounted newspaper, radio, and billboard advertising through our planned advertising co-op wherein we would purchase the ads at bulk and re-sell them at cost, saving money for a business who may only want to run advertisements for a month or so as opposed to a full year.

To join as a sponsor, the sponsorship bands are as follows: Downtown Business, $250; Partner, $500-1,499; Investor, $1,500-$4,999; and Mover & Shaker, $5,000+. There are many businesses who already donate within or above these bands, though now they would receive recognition for their donation and access to advertising opportunities if they want/need it.

…Did I mention that these membership dues and sponsorships can be tax-deductible? Your accountant or tax preparation service will know the specifics relating to 501(c)(3) non-profit memberships and sponsorships.

There is strength in numbers, and with your support, Main Street Point Pleasant can continue its long record of community leadership and proven results.

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By Chris Rizer

Special to the Register

Chris Rizer is the president of the Mason County Historical & Preservation Society and assistant director of Main Street Point Pleasant, reach him at masonchps@gmail.com

Chris Rizer is the president of the Mason County Historical & Preservation Society and assistant director of Main Street Point Pleasant, reach him at masonchps@gmail.com