By Karen Cornelius
Vermilion City Council met on Monday night, March 5, and heard a presentation from Main Street Vermilion executive director Marilou Suszko who reviewed the nonprofit group’s 2017 annual report detailing its projects, programs, accomplishments and involvement in the local community. Most impressive is a core of over 225 individuals who power Main Street donating their time and talents, 6,081 volunteer hours, to making Vermilion grow in positive ways.
Suszko passed out a colorful brochure to city council with all the details they could read later. She said she would just give some highlights starting with their marketing budget which they have increased to $13,000 to promote Vermilion as a travel destination. Visitors boost the local economy and businesses and tourism helps sustain the community and benefits everyone. She said they will be promoting Vermilion heavily this year and have purchased radio time, and are planning a local campaign with the Vermilion Photojournal called “Be A Tourist In Your Own Town” reminding residents to value small businesses by spending their dollars here and enjoying all Vermilion has to offer. There are also doing more printed pieces and will be distributing information to the Ohio Turnpike this year. Their new website up since June is a big part in promoting tourism and has enjoyed 18,000 page views so far. “We are an unofficial “Visitors Bureau” along with the Chamber,” said Suszko.
Main Street Vermilion’s Bridge-to-Bridge project aimed to improve the asthetics of Liberty Avenue’s eastern corridor will be moving forward as well. The program identifies major sites along Liberty in need of landscaping, sidewalk safety, and lighting improvements. In 2017, there were six trees planted along the corridor and some new and refreshed landscaping with increasing interest among participants. Liberty is an important gateway to downtown. The director was further excited about forming a new economic development committee with its focus on the historic downtown. They are also working on a public art master plan. “There’s a lot of forward movement,” commented Suszko who stated all the work being accomplished is funded by Main Street Vermilion memberships which are in the form of support from 76 business partners and 271 community partners in 2017. She thanked the city officials for collaborating with Main Street.
Of interest in the annual report is the fact Main Street Vermilion has existed for 17 years with the purpose of revitalizing the community through beautification, the arts, business development, volunteerism, historic preservation, and delivering lively events and programs that welcome everyone. In 2017, the group welcomed thousands of visitors to free events, 48, ranging from the summer Farmers Market to the Christmas Tree Ship. There are four programs that thrive under the Main Street 501c3 umbrella. They are Vermilion in Bloom, Lighthouse Preservation, Bridge-To-Bridge, and the Vermilion Arts Guild. Main Street values these programs and their efforts to revitalize the community through their work.
The report also explains how the nonprofit works with five committees that oversee projects, programs, and unique aspects. There’s Business Development, Marketing, Special Events, Design, and Operations. Main Street invites more people to volunteer, join committees, and contribute. For further information, call the office at 440-963-0772, or stop by at 685 Main Street to learn more about Main Street.
In addition to Suszko, there is a board of directors with Judy Kernell, the president; Fred Miggins, the vice president; Gerald Schaefer, the treasurer; and Libby Williams, the secretary. Members of the board are Elaine Carlin, Ron Cicerchi, Beth Eberhard, Heather Ferguson, Dave Hoffman, Judy Klucas, Dan Martin, Peg Needham, Reenie Rak, Pam Reese, and Suzanne Zadell.