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Hamilton Economic Development

New BIA chair says better days ahead for Concession Street

The new chair of the Concession Street Business Improvement Area sees more good times ahead for the Mountain’s oldest shopping district.

“I think the openness and willingness to work collectively to make this street come back to life is what we’re looking to do,” said Leo Santos, who was unopposed for the position at the first meeting of the BIA’s new board of management on Dec. 18.

Santos noted that of all the business owners on the new board, only Phil Bradshaw is back from the previous group.

“The change is happening,” said Santos, who added the new board mostly reflects the younger and newer business owners on Concession Street.

The popular restaurant owner said his goals in the coming days include attracting new business to the street and ensuring BIA members take advantage where possible of business improvement grants offered by the city.

He’s even planning to speak to the business owners about a possible rebranding of Concession Street.

“To decide on a new identity for the street,” he said.

Also acclaimed at the meeting were James McHardy as vice chair, Mirella Leo as secretary and Alana Travis as treasurer.

Also on the board are Bradshaw, Sherry Bohorquez, Gabby Chavez, Jason Hofing, Carolyn Jonaitis, Shenny Rodriguez and Mountain councillors Scott Duvall and Tom Jackson.

Board members serve a four-year term.

The first major job for the new board will be to hire a new full-time executive director to replace Carlo Gorni, who is moving on to become BIA coordinator with the City of Hamilton.

He’ll oversee the 13 BIAs in the city.

Gorni said the new job is a good opportunity and he’s leaving Concession Street at the end of the year on a positive note.

“There are great people up here and great businesses,” Gorni said. “I think the street’s got nothing but positive days ahead.”

The board has formed a hiring committee that was expected to begin advertising for the position this week.

Santos said he would like to see the new executive director chosen by the end of January.

City council last week approved the BIA’s $80,750 budget.

That includes up to $45,000 for the executive director.

Article courtesy of Mark Newman, Hamilton Community News

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