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Downtown Waynesville Association gets five-year deal

Downtown Waynesville Association gets five-year deal

A new state law calling for more competition and transparency in how Municipal Service Districts are managed sent shudders down the collective spines of some on the Waynesville Town Board when they learned that the contracts to manage such districts would now have to go up for bid.

Waynesville’s MSD — a special district that pays an extra property tax that goes toward infrastructure improvements, marketing efforts and salaries — includes the downtown central business district and has always been managed by the Downtown Waynesville Association since its creation in 1986.

But that three-decade streak was in jeopardy throughout July. The Town Board voted 4-1 in late June to move forward with the process of accepting bids from interested organizations. In theory, that could have resulted in the DWA being outbid for the contract, leaving the organization — and its $200,000 yearly budget — as a redundant answer to a rhetorical question. 

“I would like to say that you don’t have to go very far to see the benefits the DWA has provided our MSD,” said Alderman Jon Feichter, a strong DWA advocate who sits on the organization’s board. 

Feichter went on to say that just that morning, he’d seen license plates from Alaska, Missouri and Rhode Island on Main Street. 

“This is directly attributable to the DWA,” he said. 

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Despite the lack of competition for the contract, the town board agreed with Feichter and gave the DWA a further boost of confidence by awarding it a five-year contract to managed the MSD — the maximum allowed by the 2015 law. 

“I’m thrilled,” said Buffy Phillips, longtime executive director of the DWA. 

Phillips said her goals for the DWA over the next few years include bringing more awareness to the arts, developing the residential real estate market, continuing to enhance design and infrastructure improvements and encouraging more evening entertainment.

“We want to make downtown a cool place for all ages,” she said. “We will continue to invite families and aspire to include them to visit with us during our activities and events.”

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