As manager of the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority, Currier continues her career in hospitality and tourism by promoting Cartersville’s historic downtown district. The DDA is currently undergoing a transformation, now formally adopted as a city of Cartersville department.
Among the efforts Currier will employ to improve the downtown district is the development of a master plan. The current project is working in tandem with Cartersville City Planner Richard Osborne to create a vision for downtown. A master plan, once finalized, will incorporated ideas from the city, business owners, residents and guests to formalize goals and objectives for future projects.
The DDA is enlisting the help of all those concerned with the betterment of downtown Cartersville and invites the public to take part in a survey. The brief online survey takes only a few minutes and seeks to get a feel for what others see as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of downtown Cartersville. To participate, visit www.cityofcartersville.org and follow the link under “News Flash.”
Name: Tara Currier
Occupation/Title: Cartersville Downtown Development Authority Manager
City of residence: Cartersville
Family: Married to Seth for 6 1/2 years; daughter, Tatum, 3 months old
Education: Woodland High School; Associate of Liberal Arts from Young Harris College and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Georgia
What led you to your current position at the Downtown Development Authority?
A. In my short professional career, I have discovered a passion for travel and tourism. After a year working for a real estate public relations firm, I began working for the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce and got more involved with the community and had a better appreciation and understanding of the many fabulous assets we have here. A wonderful opportunity to work at one of those great assets presented itself in 2008, and I served as director of marketing for Booth Western Art Museum for 2 1/2 years. While there, I became heavily involved in two regional travel associations and co-founded the Bartow County Hospitality Association. When the position became open at the Cartersville DDA, I felt it was a true calling. This job allows me to do all the things I love, including promoting travel and tourism, helping small business, planning events, implementing strategic marketing campaigns, and working with a variety of people on a daily basis to help sell downtown Cartersville.
What do you feel is the importance of a vital and thriving downtown business district?
A. In some communities, downtowns are the largest employer. While not the case for Cartersville, our downtown businesses employ 1,250 people. In addition to being a large employer, the downtown district just carries a nostalgic feeling. For generations, downtown is where you went to the department store, the drug store, to get a cold fountain drink and more. It is important to preserve that heritage and that economic prosperity. Many downtowns are becoming irrelevant with large, shopping centers and malls moving in; however, visitors to downtown Cartersville constantly speak of the charm and quaintness that we possess. It is important to keep that alive and thriving, which is my job as DDA manager to help ensure.
What is the most rewarding part of your role in the community?
A. Helping people! While I love travel and tourism, the thing I love most is this community. It is a joy for me to promote our downtown as a destination to others, which in turn helps the many wonderful small businesses that make up our downtown. Be it through co-op advertising, packaging specials and deals, or coming up with new events that will draw people here, I just want to know that I may be playing a very small part in helping these great service providers, restaurants and shops.
What are some goals and objectives you would like to see downtown accomplish?
A. It is hard to just list “some.” I have a fabulous board in place and new ideas are being shared almost daily. One of the first goals is to complete this downtown master plan we are working on. That is going to help the DDA board and staff, working closely with the city planner, determine what it is the community, business owners, and outside visitors are looking for in our downtown district. Already it is apparent we need to work on business recruitment, determine ways — and means — to address the parking concerns, and establish some new events and activities to not only draw people to the downtown district, but to get them in the many businesses we have here. Ultimately, I hope people put Cartersville in the same sentence as Woodstock, Rome and Roswell when mentioning the towns that have “great” downtown districts.
What would you consider your greatest personal or professional achievement?
A. This is a tough one. I guess it would be that I was selected as the Cartersville DDA manager at the age of 28. I know that this is a tough economy and there were many qualified applicants for this position. Though I may not have the abundant years of experience others do, I have worked hard to establish myself as a professional, and it was an honor that my hard work and previous experience, as well as my passion for this community, was recognized as being a good fit for this position.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A. My brother told me once, “No matter the action, be ready to suffer the consequence.” In good times and bad, this is something I have often remembered and always think through before doing — or saying — anything. Your words and actions can have a great impact on others, both negative and positive.
What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
A. I’m really an open book, so there isn’t much people would be surprised by. I guess most people don’t know I actually lived in five different places before the age of three — including Oklahoma where I was born, Chicago and Memphis.
Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
A. As cliché as it may be, it’s always been downtown Cartersville. Between the nostalgia I have for the beautiful Booth Museum, to the appreciation I have for the design and look of our downtown district, I truly love being here and love bringing friends and family. We have so many great shops and restaurants — there are tons of places downtown I love to be! However, with the recent birth of my daughter, home with her and my husband really trumps any place I could be.
What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
A. Genuine, outgoing, communicator.
If you were not in this line of work, what would you like to do?
A. I think being an events coordinator for a music festival would be a pretty sweet job. Besides travel and tourism, I love music festivals.