Bogalusa Main Street earns statewide honors

Published 8:12 am Friday, March 20, 2015

Some day recently came for Bogalusa Main Street Manager Robin Day.

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne notified Day by mail that Bogalusa’s Main Street Program topped 36 others in the state to win the prestigious Main Street Award at the 2015 Louisiana Culture Awards. Day will be presented the award at a reception and awards ceremony on April 14 at Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge. The Louisiana Culture Awards recognize the best efforts made to highlight and cultivate the state’s cultural resources.

Day has led Bogalusa’s Main Street Program since 2012.

“I’ve been going to these Cultural Connection Conferences for three years. Every time a Main Street Committee would win an award, I’d say ‘one day that’s going to be us.’”

Day said winning the honor means the program has reached new heights.

“It means we have crossed boundaries with this program that have never been reached before,” Day said. “The program has been successful by reaching certain goals, such as creating awareness and revitalization and sustainability in preserving the history of our historic downtown by offering our citizens and visitors a quality downtown experience.”

Day said Bogalusa’s Main Street Program model is strictly followed.

“Bogalusa Main Street Program strives to follow and instill its mission and vision statements,” Day said. “Most importantly, I personally owe the success of this program to ex-Mayor Charles Mizell for believing that I was the right person for the job.”

Day also credited the program’s success to Bernie Brennan Jr. He owns a number of buildings downtown.

“I also owe Bernie Brennan Jr. for offering his incentive program to the merchants who have invested in our beloved city,” Day said. “But most of all, this award is due to all the Main Street volunteers.”

The Main Street volunteers and volunteer board members Day named included Ellen Stringfield-Hobgood, Jon Sorey, Teddy Drummond, Doyle Denman McMillan, Stacey Baughman, Blake Baughman, Laura Stewart, Drue McMillan and Sandy Bloom, but she said there were many, many others.

A total of 16 new businesses have opened downtown since 2012. Three of those businesses have since closed. Day said two new businesses are on the horizon, including a professional office and a “highly sought-after addition to downtown.”

Day uses every opportunity to request citizens to clean up their neighborhoods as well as pick up trash downtown. She also volunteers to help eliminate blighted downtown buildings, and she asked all citizens to become involved.

“This is your city. Get involved in something, anything that says you want to move our city forward,” Day said.

One way Day entices shopping downtown is the popular Rendezvous on the Road series. Businesses on Columbia Street remain open later than usual. The first Rendezvous on the Road of the 2015 season is scheduled for March 27.

Though Day is employed by the city, she said donations are key to the program.

“This program is run by donated funds. The program’s success has been from donations from citizens of Bogalusa and from those who no longer live here but love our work,” Day said. “They believe in the program.”