MILTON — The board of directors of Main Street Milton have voted to dissolve the organization as an individual entity and hope to be taken over by the city of Milton.
The Main Street Milton Board of Directors met Wednesday for their regular meeting to discuss the city's recent cancellation of its Memorandum Of Agreement with Main Street Milton and the 30-day notice to renegotiate the MOA.
"If the city doesn't recognize what we do, it's unfortunate," said Kevin Smith, vice president of Main Street Milton. "If the city doesn’t see us as a value in their partnership with our organization, then give it back."
Smith made a motion that the MSM should go back to the city. West seconded the motion. The MSM board voted not to pursue a renegotiated MOA with the city and to give the MSM program to the city. Board member Jordan abstained.
MSM planned to inform the city of their decision at the Oct. 17 Milton City Council meeting. The board of directors' hope is for the city to take over operations of Main Street Milton and keep the organization operating as a city program as its accreditation runs until January 2020.
The council's decision regarding Main Street Milton was not available at press time.
MSM was brought back into existence last year. The organization is an accredited Florida and National Main Street program. That means they have an executive director and receive funding from the city, $20,000 last year.
Two city employees, Executive Director Ed Spears and Event Coordinator Stephen Prestesater, worked on the staff staff of MSM. Although they are city employees, they reported directly to the MSM Board.
The MSM program won the Honor Award and the Merit Award from Main Street’s national organization for their services to the community and redevelopment and leadership. The program brought activities to downtown Milton including Bands after Dark and various festivals.
MSM had also scheduled the Smithonian's Hometown Teams traveling exhibition that examines the many roles sports play in American society. The exhibition was scheduled from Nov. 16 to Dec. 28. Sharp said it would probably be canceled.
While they received accolades, MSM programs have been the subject of various concerns from city residents and officials including concerns about transparency and Sunshine Law violations. Questions about MSM's facade grants procedures also surfaced.
There has been interference from everywhere directed at Spears and Prestesater, according to Cassandra Sharp, president of Main Street Milton. The public and social media criticisms caused an outside vendor to pull out of a deal with MSM to manage the Imogene Theatre.