Community ambassadors meet with Downtown Hays Development Corporation

Since 2000, efforts have been made to revitalize and improve downtown Hays. Community Ambassadors met with Sarah Bloom, director of the Downtown Hays Development Corporation (DHDC), Jan. 18 to discuss upcoming events and possibilities for downtown Hays.

“I discussed with the community ambassadors about how we plan to make Hays’ downtown a premier shopping destination for all of Western Kansas.” Bloom said.

According to their website, the DHDC’s mission is: “To foster awareness and promote downtown Hays as a vibrant center of commerce, recreation, arts, government and history that serves the people of Hays, the surrounding region and visitors from around the world.”

Community ambassadors Alyssa Bryant and Jake Dechant enjoyed hearing from Bloom.

“The most interesting thing I learned from Sarah was all the opportunities that are going on around the year for visitors or even residents of Hays.” Bryant said.

Recent events held by the DHDC include the first responder recognition breakfast that was held to honor area police officers, firemen, and EMT’s. The downtown area plays host to family events year-round.

Larger-scale building projects are also in the works.

Currently, an open-air pavilion is in the planning process. A partnership with Fort Hays State University students has been established in order to design it.

The purpose of the pavilion would be to promote downtown shopping. It is slated to be located at the corner of 10th and Main Streets.

An outdoor public restroom is also going to be added to the downtown area soon according to Bloom. So far, $100,000 in grants has been raised for the building of these projects in addition to $100,000 in private investments.

“I thought it was interesting to hear that the DHDC is partnered with the Liberty Group from Plainville and actually helps determine the businesses that come to downtown Hays,” Dechant said. “Personally, I would absolutely love to see a music store that sells old vinyls and guitars move downtown.”

Bryant would like to see more hotels, clothing stores, and restaurants come to the downtown Hays area.

“There are always prospective businesses looking to move in,” Bloom said. “Right now a new boutique as well as a frozen yogurt shop are looking at downtown locations.”

Although details about potential downtown businesses cannot be released at this time, Bloom said she is excited for the new opportunities.

“Overall, I enjoyed the meeting” Dechant said. “I think that the DHDC is doing a wonderful job building up downtown Hays.”