20 years on: DHDC celebrates downtown revival, kicks off history speaker series
Since 2001 Downtown Hays Development Corporation (DHDC) has fostered awareness of the area by recognizing, communicating, and celebrating Downtown Hays' accomplishments. Now DHDC is celebrating its twenty-year anniversary in style with a brick celebration, ribbon cutting, photo gallery, and a big reveal.
"Downtown Hays has come so far in 20 years, but so has our organization," said Sara Bloom, executive director of DHDC. "What used to be a blight on our city is now a place where our community loves to gather. An organization that started out fundraising to breathe life back in now focuses on creating greater opportunities and activities for the community. Both deserve a celebration."
On Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., the Hays community is invited to gather at BriefSpace, 219 W 10th Street. Along with other featured speakers, Bloom will give a brief history of DHDC and celebrate its many accomplishments. The Hays Chamber will host a ribbon-cutting. DHDC will also reveal their first-ever newly purchased event trailer that will be used to be more present throughout the community.
"BriefSpace was chosen for the event location for its ample space. Guests will be able to social distance and enjoy a variety of activities," Bloom said. "Listen to the speakers, enjoy a walk down memory lane with our photo gallery, and stay afterward for our monthly speaker series kick-off."
Monthly speaker series
The monthly speaker series is one of many ways DHDC will be celebrating 20 years. Each session will begin promptly at 5:15 p.m. The first guest will be founding DHDC board member and current Hays Mayor, Sandy Jacobs, telling her emotional story of loving and losing a downtown and the efforts behind turning blight into beauty. Special guest Chuck Comeau, a key developer for the Downtown area, will join her. No RSVP is required to attend. Refreshments will be served.
"If you love local history, you're not going to want to miss this," Bloom emphasized. "Each month, you are invited to join DHDC as we hear from those who led the charge and created change in our community." The speakers and topics will change each month to illuminate a different aspect of Downtown's growth.
DHDC is also very conscious that you, the community, helped breathe life and revitalization back into Downtown. The organization wants to hear the many stories of Downtown Hays you carry with you too. Please consider submitting stories, photos, and favorite memories at www.DowntownHays.com.
"The stories from our community are what make these festivities so vibrant. Hearing your childhood memories, unique traditions, and those intangible reasons why Hays is special makes what we do meaningful and worth it," Bloom said.
Stay tuned to DHDC's Facebook page, The Bricks in Downtown Hays, as we share historical photos and stories. If guests cannot attend either the 20-year celebration or the speaker series, DHDC will share both live via social media.