RRSQ Association Board Meeting
Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023
8:30 AM Courtyard Marriott Hotel Conference Room: 175 Railroad St. (In Person Meeting)
Attendees:, Paul Quattrocchi, Pauline Block, Noelle Hermann, Jim McCalligan, Rafael Rivero, Marianne Neufeld, Curt Nichols, Theresa Tommasi, Dee Richardson, Florine Ellingson, Kris Wilson. Per Zoom: Mike Montague, Dayna Irvine, Jim McCalligan
Absent: Rafael Rivero
Guests: Ellen Bowen Ted Wooley, Mary Gwen Neisingh, Suzie Friedman, Lee Wright, Jill Moyer, AJ Trombetta
1. CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL – ED Kris Wilson called the meeting to order at 8:34 AM. Motion to approve September’s minutes was by Marianne Neufeld, seconded by Dee Richardson and approved by all.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS – (limited to 2 minutes each)
3. CONSENT ITEMS – None
4. PRESIDENT’S REPORT– Mike Montague
4.1 Follow up: DAO/RRSQ concept – Suggestion was to keep separate but to work collaboratively on shared issues, advocacy and marketing opportunities.
4.2 ED Job Description to approve for posting/outreach – The ED position will offer a starting salary of $33.00/hour which is 19% of our budget. Kris has started reaching out to connections & will widen that with the newsletter, on line postings and social media: our Facebook page, Indeed, Linked In etc. Marianne suggested abbreviating job listing.
4.3 District updates/security – Kris shared that Star Guitar reported an encampment at the Davis exit ramp near AC parking lot. Kris has reported to the SRPD and to CalTrans and if not cleared she will report it again. She encouraged all to alert the SRPD and let her know when encampments are seen.
Pauline said there is now a camping ordinance and the camps are clearing out faster. There is currently an increase in graffiti in the area. There is a graffiti phone number to call (707-543-3800) or mysantarosa.com to report. It’s important that graffiti be painted over as quickly as possible to deter repeated tagging at that same location.
Pauline says there is a huge uptick in car break-ins and property damage – mostly in parking garages by organized groups on bikes. Theresa reported that the Marriott has had 3 car break-ins recently. The downtown mall will close parking during certain hours to help prevent thefts. Reminder to not leave valuables in view in your car. The SRPD police and Cal Trans is responsive to calls. Kris will alert our security company to watch for any suspicious activity.
5. ED REPORT – Kris Wilson – Discussed plans for collaborative holiday marketing with the Plaza (Santa Claus), downtown activities with the RRSQ carriage rides & music. The collaboration will include a graphic artist for about $2100.00 with each partner to share costs. We hope to track results of increase in visitors to RRSQ and incorporate this information in next year’s planning. We’ll also be promoting the holidays with our SMART platform ad.
5.1 Website SEO Update – Kris reported that web visits have increased over projections with the use of a trial performance model with more photos & ads targeting to a wider demographic range.
5.2 Marketing & Event Update –
a. Fall Merchant Mixer – the Fall Merchant Mixer & City 205 Open House is on Thursday, November 2, from 5 – 7:00 PM. It will be hosted by the Americana restaurant. Tahlia Isken, young entrepreneur & daughter of Eric Isken, (Olde Towne Jewelers), will be offering her baked goods. Flo asked that each board member contribute a bottle of wine for the event.
b. Holiday plans: Flo proposed adding holiday spirit to RRSQ by decorating the lamp posts and confirmed cost which was agreed to be in our budget. The theme this year is “Celebrate the holidays in RRSQ” merchants will be encouraged to decorate their windows. An idea to incorporate a window display contest is being discussed. Discussion to continue our radio ads for the holidays to promote our carriage rides and collaborative marketing. Other marketing ideas were discussed and will be explored which would be a more cost-effective way of marketing outreach. Noelle suggested getting our info to schools in their newsletters as another opportunity to attract families from Marin County.
6. FINANCIAL REPORT – MarianneNeufeld: There were no big expenses for September. End of year expenses are pending. Our Radio advertising costs the most. Our planters came to $9800.00. Our budget is on track for the rest of the year.
7. PROJECT UPDATES/DISCUSSION
7.1 Planter Box Project – Marianne said that the new planter boxes will need a dolly to bring into Paul’s building to store. Merchants will be sent a message to remove their current wine barrel planters. There was a brief discussion about planting choices. It was suggested that we (individually) take a walk to the entrance of the mall on 4th from RRSQ to see their beautiful succulent plantings.
7.2 4th Street Lighting Project – Curt is trying to set up a meeting with Kevin Zucco, structural engineer and SR City staff to clarify City requirements. The project will not be completed for lights for the holidays as hoped. The lighting on the palm tree in Depot Park will be repaired as well as the wrapping on the trees on Wilson Street.
7.3 Updated RRSQ Rack Card – Dee Richardson. Discussion regarding the benefit o using Certified Folder to place in Sacramento and San Francisco areas. It was decided to print a smaller amount to use internally and at the Visitors Center and explore digital advertising. Pauline suggested putting an ad in the Sacramento Bee as a good use of marketing dollars. Theresa said that the older demographic at the Marriott asks for map only and most hotels no longer have designated space for rack cards.
7.4 Tree removal/replacement policy to approve. The board discussed the proposed reimbursement policy and of using alternating colors (pink & white) of the Crape Myrtle as replacement trees. The motion to approve was made by Curt which was seconded by Pauline and passed. Curt reported that sidewalk repair in front of Chevy’s will take place on November 13.
7.5 Phase 2 Wayfinding Update – Noelle Hermann. Discussion to Include Downtown and/or the Plaza for remaining spots on the wayfinding poles pending confirmation from the City of their participation.
8. Other Discussion/Updates:
a. Utility box artwork: no update
b. Board succession. Dee reported the nominating committee will be bringing new board member recommendations to the November board meeting.
c. Curt shared that the Prince Greenway group efforts to increase and better activate community awareness include plans for music along the greenway, hotel participation and possible grant match funding.
d. Paul suggested we continue delivering holiday wreaths to the merchants as it was so well received in the past and will explore possible local sources for the wreaths.
e. Kris presented a new project in replacing the 2 outdated window maps with a focus on RRSQ history using our walking tour photos. Pauline offered to help create a visual and Dee was to provide photos.
ADJOURNMENT – Kris adjourned the meeting at 10:05 AM.
DATES TO REMEMBER: Thursday, Nov. 2, Fall Merchant Mixer 5 – 7:00 PM at City 205 hosted by Americana Restaurant
NEXT BOARD MEETING: 8:30 AM, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, AT THE COURTYARD MARRIOTT