While many Tri-Valley residents are familiar with the Friday Concerts in the Park series each summer in downtown Pleasanton, many may not know which organization manages and promotes it.
While a good guess is the Chamber of Commerce or the city itself, the correct answer is the Pleasanton Downtown Association, known as the PDA.
"We were established as a nonprofit association nearly three decades ago in 1984 by the City Council," said PDA Executive Director Laura Olson. "Our purpose is to develop and promote a vibrant downtown, while preserving the historic qualities of our downtown area."
According to the association's website, Pleasanton's downtown is a historic district of some 575 businesses, as well as residential properties, located in a relatively small geographic area. Operating as an assessment district with member businesses and the city funding its efforts, the PDA produces a number of annual and ongoing events that attract Tri-Valley residents to the downtown.
"Many people don't realize we are a certified national and state-recognized Main Street Community," said Olson. "We go through an annual review to retain this prestigious status."
Olson, who grew up in Pleasanton, brings a wealth of experience to her role as executive director. She is a board member of the California Main Street Alliance and sits on its executive committee. Before being hired as executive director, she worked in marketing for a regional
Olson said that in addition to hosting downtown events throughout the year, the PDA works on behalf of businesses to market, advertise and offer initiatives to draw people to downtown every day of the year. Studies show that dollars spent locally have a multiplier effect that help boost local economies.
For the coming year, the PDA's board of directors has identified several key objectives. These include review of the city's Downtown Specific Plan as well as recruitment of more retail business.
"We feel that the 2002 Downtown Specific Plan needs to be formally reviewed and updated to stay current with changing businesses' needs," Olson said. "In addition, we look forward to working with the city's economic development department and Economic Vitality Committee to encourage more retail in our downtown."
Olson said that "Retail breeds retail. The more shopping opportunities that exist in our downtown, the more visitors we will attract."
Along with helping to implement Downtown Hospitality Guidelines recently approved by the City Council, another important objective is assisting in finalizing plans and beginning work to improve the appearance, functionality and safety of Wayside and Delucchi Parks.
"The beauty of the Firehouse Arts Center has created a greater need to improve its adjacent parks for special events and our community's enjoyment," Olson said.
Pleasanton residents interested in becoming active with the PDA are encouraged to contact Olson. "We welcome participation and we're always looking for fun, friendly and dedicated volunteers," she said. "We want downtown to be the community's downtown."
Contact Jim Ott at email@example.com.