Congratulations to John Seward of Brookings, who is heading to Rapid City to direct the Main Street Square project. Seward is apparently a big part of why downtown Brookings looks so busy and beautiful: he's come up with all sorts of successful downtown events like the Taste of Brookings, a downtown component of the Jackrabbit Bash, and a Hallowe'en pork-brains-eating contest at Sully's. (Yes, the latter drew a crowd.)
Now Seward is taking his talents to Rapid City, where he is charged with making things happen in Main Street Square, a new downtown plaza slated to open in October. With ideas like a zombie walk, snowman contests, downtown weddings, and carriage rides, Seward beat about 80 other applicants for the job.
Seward will get paid around $50,000 for his work. That's half the pay Madison's economic development director Dwaine Chapel gets... and Seward appears to have ten times more interest in and ideas for downtown development than Madison has gotten for its money.
p.s.: A local non-reader who only hears about my blog via "concerned citizens" accuses me of having a "pro-Brookings agenda." I would ask how one can be anti-Brookings when Brookings does so much right? But I would suggest that my agenda is not so much to promote Brookings as it is to promote studying Brookings and applying the lessons of its success in downtown development and job creation to Madison. That shouldn't be too hard, since our economic development director lives in Brookings (now that's a pro-Brookings agenda).