The Annual Meeting for the Taunton BID and DTF was held Wednesday January 25th at the Trescott Street Gallery.  The evening kicked off with networking and included buffet dinner entrees from DeVito’s Pizzeria Catering and desserts from Coffee Milano.

The gathering, which attracted a crowd of more than forty people with an interest in the two organizations, featured a brief conversation and Q & A with Mayor Tom Hoye.  Issues discussed were the current tax rate and the impact it has on small businesses that exist in our Downtown, the status of street and sidewalk updates on Weir Street, and the variety of supportive programs the City has in place to promote revitalization in the business improvement district.  Colleen Simmons, BID & DTF Director, gave an overview of accomplishments and events in the Downtown this past year.  Highlights included the opening of 10 new businesses, 11 events designed to bring visitors and customers into the district, and the continued beautification of the historic Downtown.  Also announced was the finalization of a lease to own deal for the DTF development project at 15 School Street.  Construction is scheduled to begin on a Cajun Seafood restaurant at that location which will feature live Blues music weekly with plans for a grand opening in the Spring of 2017.  The remarkable transformation of the Trescott Street Gallery into a fully functioning space for the arts and rental facility under the management of Diane O’Day was also highlighted.  Under Diane’s stewardship, the Gallery now has regular opening hours during exhibits, highly successful art classes on Saturday mornings, a significant increase in artist memberships, and increased rental income.  For the first time since its inception, the Gallery is solvent.

The featured guest speaker for the evening was Brian Poilucci, digital marketing expert and CEO of CABS, a small, local business located on Cedar Street.  Brian and his team designed and launched the new website for the BID & DTF.  The launch took place in August of 2016, with adjustments, additions, and tweaks being made in the interim.  Along with the newly designed website, Brian and his team designed an app for the BID & DTF.  The Annual Meeting marked the launch of the new app and Brian provided the attendees with an overview of the features of the website and app and the myriad ways they will potentially benefit our Downtown businesses.  There were many references to “Google Juice,” which we all agreed was an elusive, but intriguing term that we gather means our new website and app are amazing and are going to revolutionize the way we attract visitors and customers to our district.

The guest speaker was followed by the annual vote to approve both the BID and DTF Boards & Executive Boards.  BID President, Jay Dorsey and DTF President Mike Wedge presided over the formal voting process which is completed according to the procedures outlined in the bylaws.

The evening’s final event was the recognition by Colleen Simmons of BID founding father, David DeSantis.  David was recognized as the driving force behind the creation of the BID, for his countless hours dedicated to its success, and for his financial support of the DTF through his DeSantis 16 in 2016 foundation.  David has resigned his BID Board position due to scheduling conflicts, but plans to remain an active member of the organizations he helped found.