Ridgefield Main Street hires first executive director

Nonprofit leader to focus on improving, thriving downtown

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer

Published:

 

If You Go

  • What: Ridgefield Main Street community meeting, which is open to all. Guests will have a chance to meet and talk to the nonprofit’s new executive director, Marykay Lamoureaux.
  • When: 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
  • Where: Sportsman’s Steakhouse and Saloon, 121 N. Main St., Ridgefield.
  • Fore more information about the organization, visit www.ridgefieldmainstreet.com.

Marykay Lamoureaux, 49, was hired as the first ever executive director for Ridgefield Main Street, a nonprofit focusing on downtown revitalization.

First up on her plate is telling people what exactly Ridgefield Main Street is. (What it’s not is a street name; in Ridgefield, it’s Main Avenue.)

“This is a private nonprofit organization,” Lamoureaux said. “We partner with the city. We partner with the school district and the port. I am not employed by the city.”

The organization is also not a chamber of commerce for the city, Lamoureaux said.

“The Ridgefield Business Association extends far beyond downtown and has a more business to business focus,” she said. “We focus on a 12-block by 12-block radius. We’re a community for downtown. We are focused on a thriving downtown, and why that’s good for the overall community, the downtown merchants and the downtown residents.”

Lamoureaux said a focus of hers will be figuring out how to get people to stay in downtown Ridgefield, especially with a few projects coming up that could bring more people to the area.

Construction is coming up on the Port of Ridgefield’s overpass above the railroad tracks connecting Pioneer Street to the port’s property. That will make it easier to get from downtown to the waterfront area, where the port owns about 43 acres of property it’s getting ready to develop.

Ridgefield School District voters passed a $78 million bond to build a 5-8 campus across South Hillhurst Road from Ridgefield High School. That will allow the district to repurpose View Ridge Middle School by moving those students out of the downtown area. One idea that’s been tossed around for repurposing View Ridge is to use part of the building, or build a new facility on the school’s baseball field, and move the Ridgefield Community Library there. The other possible location for the new library is north of the post office.

“With these things, there’s a chance that downtown Ridgefield becomes a pass through,” Lamoureaux said. “We don’t want that to happen.”

To keep people in downtown, Lamoureaux said the area might need to bring in more places to eat and shop, as well as some activities. She wants to talk to merchants in the city to see what other businesses and amenities they think the city needs.

Lamoureaux has experience working with businesses, as she used to serve as director of the chamber of commerce in Santa Rosa County, Fla.

She currently works part-time as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the Clark County Family YMCA, and will keep that job, as the Ridgefield Main Street position is also part-time.

What drew Lamoureaux and her husband to Ridgefield was the combination of the more rural feel in some parts of the city mixed in with the small town feel of the city’s downtown. They purchased property in the city more than 10 years ago, and built and moved into their house a little more than a year and a half ago. Even though the city is a bit more crowded now than when Lamoureaux and her husband first bought their property, she said those same traits that drew them in are still present.

“I am really pleased to be able to contribute to this community in such a way that can make a difference to a lot of people,” she said. “It’s important for me to give back. This is a good way to do that.”