Feb 17, 2013

Main Street Greenville director stepping down

Amber Schmerge
BY JOY ROSEBERRY 
ASST. MANAGING EDITOR 
GREENVILLE—An Open House/Farewell Party will be held for Amber Schmerge, Executive Director of Main Street Greenville, on Feb. 28, 5-7 p.m., at St. Clair Place in Greenville. Schmerge, who has been director since 2006, will be stepping down from the position.

After earning an interior design degree from Mount St. Joseph College, she volunteered for the state’s Main Street Program, Heritage Ohio, developing a passion for preservation and downtown development. Both served her well in her position in Greenville.

Under her tenure, the Horse Parade, Beggars Night and Farmer’s Market have continued to flourish and First Fridays and Adopt A Box have made their mark. But she is quick to point out, as director, she helped coordinate the programs and projects, which are the result of the “amazing” work of volunteers and sponsors. “Main Street Greenville is not a city organization. We are not under the city or the commissioners. Without our volunteers and supporters this organization would not be able to do the wonderful things it does. It takes more than a director to do all this.”

Main Street Greenville has a board of directors and four active committees – design, business enhancement, operations and marketing - each with a chairperson and volunteers.

“One of the first things I worked on when I was first hired was the fountain project. I worked with Mayor Fraley for a dedication event, but the design committee took a big lead in seeing the fountain project to fruition.”

The Horse Parade, already started before Amber’s arrival has “become a trademark for our downtown. We have a lot of volunteers working on that.”

And First Fridays, according to Amber, is the hard work and dedication of local merchants. “I took a few downtown merchants to a ‘First Friday’ chocolate walk in Delaware and they immediately wanted to do something like that here. They have come up with the themes and have made First Fridays a success. I think it’s a great way to garner people’s attention to downtown.”

She continued, “We have over 100 volunteers taking care of plantings for the Adopt A Box program. It’s been really successful and I’m really proud of that.”

However, she is most proud of the Downtown Matters Initiative. “The board came together to develop this, which defines who we [downtown Greenville] are, what we do and why we are deserving of support. Business owners, government leaders and individuals are working to promote a downtown that matters.”

Amber plans to stay home with her sons, ages 3 and four months, and to pursue her “Candle Company” business. Though originally from Wapakoneta, Amber has lived in Darke County for six years. She and her husband, Dale, will continue to live here and raise their family. “Darke County is home. I leave this position not wanting to forget my roots and my passion for downtown. I will still always be downtown.”

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