'Please visit our downtown': Downtown Lima, Inc. promotes development

Mar. 13—LIMA — Betsy Billingsley of Downtown Lima, Inc. eagerly awaited her presentation to the Lima Rotary Club on Monday.

"I'm just looking forward to really showing off what we have downtown. It's really a great time to be here and we've got so many amazing restaurants and entertainment venues and just a lot of stuff happening," Billingsley said.

Downtown Lima, Inc. is a 501c nonprofit organization that partners with various development groups in Lima. It was established in 1998 with a mission to promote and market the central business district. Now Downtown Lima, Inc. promotes and aids members and their promotions and events. It also initiates its own events. The Holiday Festival, lantern tours, downtown banners, and hanging baskets are some of the Downton Lima, Inc. events. Since 2005, it has granted over $604,000 in loans to downtown business through its downtown Lima development loan fund.

Downtown Lima partners with the Design Review Board and Historical Preservation Board. It also participate in parking studies as needed. Downtown Lima has developed a walking map that was distributed to local hotels and other partners to promote a vibrant downtown Lima. It also facilitates the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA).

DORA is an outdoor area which encompasses downtown Lima that the city council has created to be specifically for walking while carrying drinks. You cannot bring your own drink; it must be in a DORA cup which now can be purchased from eight different locations. You can take your drink with you to any establishment that has a green DORA sign. It's only within a specific area which DORA drinks are allowed.

Members are just not from downtown Lima. Many are community partners and individuals who see the value of the economic benefit of a vibrant downtown Lima. A vibrant downtown can have a significant economic impact on the Lima community. It can support local businesses, increase property values, create jobs, encourage entrepreneurship, and foster a sense of community. People may be more likely to participate in community events and activities, which can foster a sense of pride and belonging. This can help create a positive environment that attracts even more visitors and businesses to the area.

"Please visit our downtown. Enjoy the events we're hosting. Enjoy the Art Walk, come on down for the lantern tours. When you do have a night out, take a picture of your food and tag us. We'd love that. Sharing is caring," Billingsley said.

Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409