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Ferndale Downtown Association receives $35k grant earmarked for hiring an executive director

Historic Downtown Ferndale (January 2019). Photo: My Ferndale News
Historic Downtown Ferndale (January 2019). Photo: Whatcom News

FERNDALE, Wash. — The Ferndale Downtown Association (FDA) has received a $35,000 grant to be used to hire and pay an executive director.

Evolving from Ferndale Visioning meetings in 2006, the 15-year-old FDA has been actively finding ways to promote and enhance the downtown Ferndale area.

Charter member and current board President Bertella Hansen told Whatcom News she is hoping the $35,000 grant from the Washington State Main Street Program (WSMSP) through the first year of its Affiliate Capacity Building Grant Program will increase their reach and abilities.

FDA is 1 of 4 other WSMSP affiliate members to receive WSMSP grants totaling nearly $150,000. Other affiliate members to receive grants are the City of Buckley, LaCrosse Community Pride and the Downtown Pullman Association.

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The new Affiliate Capacity Building Grant Program was established earlier this year by the state legislature as a pilot project meant to provide the financing needed to fund a staff position. In addition to the grant funds, the 4 grant recipients will receive support services from WSMSP to assist with the search and hiring process and subsequent onboarding of the new director.

“Having an executive director will enable us to reach out to all downtown businesses on a regular basis,” Hansen told Whatcom News. “All the other [FDA] board members have jobs and businesses to take care of. Having an executive director will enable reaching out to all downtown businesses on a regular basis, shepherd new businesses through City regulations and create more opportunities to  highlight stores and products which will bring more patronage of downtown businesses.”

Hansen said they are eligible to reapply for the grant again next year but for now the board members are busy developing the job description and figuring out a budget.

FDA hosts the annual “Ferndale City-wide Clean-up Day” in April, a Harvest Festival in October and maintains sponsored banners that adorn the downtown Ferndale streets and memorial benches located throughout downtown.

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