Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

November 7, 2013

Fresh start for trio of civic groups

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — What were once divisions is now healing as members of three separate but related Pauls Valley organizations have decided the time is right to come together.

The organizations are the city of Pauls Valley tourism, PV Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Pauls Valley.

Not so long ago there were some definite hard feelings felt when city leaders decided to cut municipal funding to both the local chamber of commerce group and Main Street program.

That left both groups struggling to survive with far less money to make their efforts work.

That now appears to be a thing of the past replaced instead by a solidarity as the three different but related efforts are coming together to join forces with one goal in mind — do what’s best for Pauls Valley.

Reaching out to each other in recent days have been the city’s tourism director Erin Creach, the new chamber president Sherri Wing and Jesse Alvarado, who is getting more involved with the Main Street program as he and others work to not only keep it in place but make it even stronger despite no director in place right now.

All agree the three entities perform many of the same functions. Each one also agrees it’s best for the community if the trio of efforts work together.

“I think people understand we do things that overlap,” Creach said.

“But it really all comes down to the fact we all work together for one purpose.”

“We’re all working for the same mission,” Wing said as she starts her tenure with the chamber. “We know we have to be positive and encouraging and that our resources can benefit all three.

“This is a new beginning for all of us and the best time for us to work together.

Much like Wing, Alvarado is fairly new to the scene. When he first joined the Main Street board he wasn’t really sure what roles each organization played.

As he’s learned more Alvarado began thinking about the three working together instead of separately.

“I started asking myself why not work together for the same common goal so we can accomplish something greater,” Alvarado said.

For Alvarado it really started with Creach, someone he’s known for some time since both were once high school classmates here in Pauls Valley.

As they began talking both came to the realization it would be best for the three organizations to work together.

Just a couple of weeks ago Alvarado found himself at a local civic club meeting. There he met Wing and the discussions about working together “really got the ball rolling.”

“It’s the perfect time to do something like this,” he said.

For Wing her time at the chamber of commerce got started recently as she began going around town introducing herself to various people and business owners.

It was during this time she admits to hearing some of the conversations about the divisions between the city government and the other two organizations thanks to the funding cuts.

Some of the comments she heard played a big part in her decision to do whatever she could to bring the city, chamber and Main Street together.

“I’m here to serve the community,” Wing said. “If the business community is asking me how I’m going to handle this then I think it’s the perfect time to sit down and show the positive sides all three of us have.

“We want to move forward together with no division among us.”

Alvarado again echoes this need to work together.

“I think the way it came down created a lot of division,” he said about the funding cuts.

“This is my opportunity to reach out to Erin and Sherri and see what we can do to help all three organizations and the community.”

The three added they plan to meet on a regular basis as together they will plan out various community events and efforts.