After Axel Starke, the former executive director of the Greater Grove Hall Main Streets, left the organization a little more than a year ago, the city and members of group’s board are moving forward with the process to select a new executive director.
The application period for the paid position closed Friday. Those behind the Boston Main Streets program said at least 12 applications from qualified candidates were received and a new director is expected to be selected by early-November.
Although it is a step in the right direction for the group, which was first formed in 1999, it has struggled over the past year.
“The executive director left and with him some of the board members did to,” explained Sheila Dillon, the director of the Department of Neighborhood Development, which oversees the Boston Main Streets program. “It’s taken the core group about a year to recruit more board members.”
Steve Rumpler, a senior project manager for Boston Main Streets, who has been working closely with the board, said that the organization is poised for rebirth.
“We’re feeling confident that the organization is in a place to emerge as a successful Main Streets program,” he said.
Partially funded through federal dollars administered by the city of Boston, Main Street groups work to revitalize commercial districts in Boston's many neighborhoods. There are currently 20 city wide.
In addition to having an organized board, the Grove Hall group needed to raise $5,000 to meet financial obligations before it could bring on a new director, Rumpler said.
“The exciting news is they are in a position financially and organizationally to bring in a new executive director,” Rumpler added.
With seven new board members added to the 15 member all-volunteer board, the organization is working to reestablish its place in the community.
“Main Streets is critical to continuing to promote the local businesses in Grove Hall,” explained Dillon. “They are the eyes and ears for the businesses and make sure they know about the programs we have."
The organization’s “hiring committee” will now begin the process of reviewing applications and conducting interviews.
“In a very short time the board has raised a significant amount of money and has showing their reach in the community,” said Rumpler. “Even though a year has passed we’ve been engaged with a number of businesses on Blue Hill Avenue, making sure they get the services they need even without an executive director there.”