Taylor Welch is involved in many community activities. He works for the Community Design Alliance, and currently lives in the downtown area.
Sara Vallandingham owns Sara’s House downtown. She purchased a CORE Fund building and relocated her business from a busy retail center into downtown Hamilton over two years ago.
Stephen Smith moved to Hamilton over 10 years ago, and is the Art Education Coordinator for InsideOut Studio downtown.
QWhat makes Hamilton a viable place for an event like Alive After 5?
ATW: The new growth in the city makes it an exciting place to be. We typically see one or two new businesses participate in each Alive After 5. Alive After 5 is a great opportunity for families to experience the vibrant downtown area.
SV: I attended a Small Business Saturday event in 2014, and that was the first time I really saw a lot of people out and about downtown. I thought it would be great to try to duplicate the turn out of that event, and to bring people downtown for a purpose.
SS: There are plenty people in Hamilton who are interested in an event like Alive After 5. It provides great family entertainment, and with the High Street store fronts being filled, downtown is the perfect location.
QWhat is your favorite part about Hamilton?
ATW & SV: Hamilton has a mentality of “we’re all in this together.” Everyone likes to help everyone, and we share the same purpose and mission.
SS: There is a strong sense of camaraderie among downtown shop owners, and we all feel like we’re part of a team that’s making progress.
QWhat do you envision for the future of Hamilton?
ATW & SV: We anticipate continued growth with both High Street and Main Street progressing and seeing new businesses. We look forward to outside communities recognizing Hamilton and its revitalization. Our city’s positive reputation is catching on with others, and we are thrilled.
SS: I look forward to the arts community continuing to grow with galleries and more murals around town. I would like to see Hamilton as a destination for the arts.
“What a wonderful display of our community rallying behind an event. It is great to see so many people out and about downtown on Alive After 5 nights.” –Danielle Webb
QWhat project, business, or person do you think has made the biggest impact on the growth of the community?
AAll: There are so many influencers in our community. City Manager Joshua Smith, Community Design Alliance Co-Founder Mike Dingeldein, Art Off Symmes Owner Sherry Armstead, and Hamilton Business Development Specialist Liz Hayden have all made tremendous impacts on Hamilton. They’re making a difference on a daily basis. The CORE Fund has also been instrumental in Hamilton’s revitalization.
QIf you could complete one community project without any limitations, what would it be?
ATW: I would love to improve all of the historic districts in town, transform communities and neighborhoods, and add more gardens through the HUGS (Hamilton Urban Garden Systems) program.
SV: I would like for downtown Hamilton to see the crowds it sees on a Saturday throughout the rest of the week. It would be great to see more people and families living downtown.
SS: I would really like to paint a mural on the back of the County building.