Business of the week-WPDR
West Plains Downtown Revitalization making a difference in the city, named business of the week
BY MARY EWERS
The rich history of downtown West Plains includes being shelled and smashed to pieces during the Civil War and rocked by an explosion that turned a night of dancing into one of the greatest tragedies the city has ever faced.
The downtown also has been a source of commerce as the heart of the city’s business district for decades. Today, a board of West Plains business owners and community volunteers are striving to maintain this unique landmark.
The West Plains Downtown Revitalization (WPDR) has been chosen to be recognized as the West Plains Chamber of Commerce Business of the Week.
“WPDR is honored to be named business of the week,” said Jeremy Nicholas, chair of WPDR board and owner of Nicholas Bail Bonds. “We thank the chamber of commerce for its nomination and the Daily Quill for its recognition and reporting.
“WPDR is a different type of business. We are in the business of supporting our downtown, its merchants, shoppers and visitors, as well as keeping our downtown West Plains district a vibrant destination that people want to visit.”
WPDR is made up of 11 board members and employs Director Judy Ogden. Ogden has been integral in promoting downtown, keeping the board active with fresh ideas and along with her husband, Nathan, and the Blues Bash committee, has assisted WPDR in bringing the annual Blues Bash to West Plains, a fantastic event with great food, drinks and amazing Blue’s performances, Nicholas said.
The 2017 Greater Ozarks Blues Bash Festival is set for May 13 on the West Plains Civic Center grounds.
The event will feature a bike show, a Rockabilly car show, a BBQ cook-off competition, numerous vendors and will feature music from Nathan Bryce and Loaded Dice, The Coyote Bill Boogie Band, Sister Lucille, The Norman Jackson Band, The Smokers Blues Band and others.
Board member Joshua Shirley, who chairs the zoning committee, has worked tirelessly to research zoning laws, allowances and restrictions so that the downtown may retain its status on the National Register of Historic Places, Nicholas said.
“WPDR looks to preserve the past, promote the downtown’s presence and build a vibrant future for this unique district that has seen the years pass by,” Nicholas said. “We are a not-for-profit entity and rely completely on fundraising and the City of West Plains for our funding.”
WPDR does much of its work through committee efforts. Committees including Promotions, Vacancy and Zoning and others are comprised of board members and community volunteers who are passionate about issues relevant to each committee. The groups meet at their own specified times while the board meets monthly at the Greater West Plains Chamber of Commerce office.
“Currently, we are also in the beginning stages of researching and planning a weekly outdoor farmers’ market in the downtown,” said Nicholas. “The market would bring fresh local produce to our district while promoting healthy consciousness and community togetherness as we celebrate our own unique corner of the Ozarks and the farmers who provide fresh food for the tables of our citizens. Currently, we are open to committee members on this project.”
Board members include: Chair Jeremy Nicholas, Vice Chair Lauren Campbell, Secretary Melody Hubbell, Treasurer Joshua Shirley, Todd Shanks, Joe Davis, Cindy Moore, Zack McNett, Jenni Wichern, Jay Wiles and Reid Grigsby.