Melissa Gallegos is Downtown Vision's new director
Garden City Downtown Vision has a new executive director.
Melissa Gallegos took over the position from Sheila Crane on Dec. 18.
Gallegos is a longtime resident of Garden City, moving here when she was 10 years old.
She attended Garden City High School, graduating in 1998. After high school, Gallegos attended Garden City Community College, where she earned an associate degree in music education.
Gallegos and her husband, Javier, have been married for nearly 17 years and have two children, Jaxton, 15, and Huxley, 5.
Outside of work, Gallegos enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering. She currently volunteers with Finney County United Way's Allocation Committee and the city of Garden City's Arts Grant Committee.
She served previously as treasurer for Downtown Vision.
Some of her previous jobs include officer manager with the Garden City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Western Kansas Community Foundation where she worked for eight years as operations director, program officer and assistant director.
Her most recent job was as marketing director with the Western Motor Company.
Gallegos said she has gained valuable knowledge and skills from over the course of her career and her previous jobs have helped prepare her for her position with Downtown Vision.
"I have years of bookkeeping experience, grant writing and evaluation skills, donor development and engagement skills, marketing experience, as well as nonprofit management experience," she said.
While Gallegos only began working for Downtown Vision on Dec. 18, she has served on its board of directors for the past four years and was a volunteer for the organization for several years before that, which is why she decided to apply for the position of director.
"I have had the opportunity to work within the Downtown District in past positions, and I have a great desire to see this historic corridor continue to thrive and succeed long into the future," she said. "There is an energy here, and once you experience it, it’s hard to leave it."
In her first year as director, Gallegos' first goal is to continue and grow the mission of Downtown Vision, to strengthen the economic base of Garden City's downtown.
"We do this by filling empty storefronts, and strategically seeking businesses that will bring more foot-traffic to downtown," she said. "We also accomplish this through creating opportunities for workshops to strengthen current businesses in this ever-changing commercial environment."
Her second goal is to have events in 2021.
"We are hopeful that this next year we will be able to have all of our Food Truck Friday events, Fall Fest, and our beloved Christmas events such as Tuba Christmas, the Tree Lighting Ceremony, and the Christmas Parade," she said.
Additionally there are plans to revamp Downtown Vision's website and to improve its media and communications efforts.
Gallegos said she hopes she can take the baton that was passed to her when she became director and hit the ground running.
"My desire is to build strong relationships and partnerships with our incredible members, and to continue to advocate for the relevancy and vibrancy of our historic and beautiful downtown," she said.