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Colleen Devine

Colleen Devine

MASON CITY | Colleen Devine has a vision for downtown and thinks it is on the brink of great things to come.

The visitor can hear it in her voice, which often goes up a decibel or two when she talks about it.

Devine, named executive director of Main Street Mason City late last year, said, "there's a school of thought among experts, regarding downtowns, that if you have your infrastructure in place, something needs to be happening."

"In Mason City, the infrastructure is in place. It's our job to make things happen," she said.

Devine said she and her board are separate from the Chamber of Commerce though their functions are similar.

"We're a partner. Years ago there was a downtown association. It became affiliated with Main Street Iowa and so we became Main Street Mason City. We get the benefit of their experience and training and networking with other Main Street cities," she said.

The organization is funded through city money, grants, investors and events.

Devine wants to focus on events: having something for people to do every weekend in Central Park and the downtown area; continuing historic preservation because she recognizes its importance and filling vacant buildings and office space.

The Algona native has a wide background that includes many years in radio work and in marketing. She has also been a store owner, had a stint as a private detective and has been involved in civic activities that include chairmanship of Crime Stoppers and membership on the Human Rights Commission.

She said many of the things she has done have been the result of her marketing background that have opened doors for her.

But her natural curiosity has also played a part. "You're going to have one chance to do most things," she said, "and that motivates me."

She said she wants to work with her board to provide a broad range of events and activities downtown and thinks her marketing background is a plus.

"There are a lot of things I'm not good at — algebra comes to mind — but I'm good at this," said Devine. "Marketing is marketing, and this is a marketing job. The client is downtown."

She is anxious to work with her board to get events churning for this year, and there will be one overall goal:

"When people drive downtown, we want them to stop."


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