Director Spotlight - Veteran Director Joyce Glasscock Retires
June 29, 2021
Veteran Director Joyce Glasscock with Main Street Keokuk Retires after almost 32 Years of Service ... 11,503 Days to be exact!Interview with Veteran Director, Joyce Glasscock, Executive Director, Main Street Keokuk.
|Q: Did you grow up in Iowa?
Yes, I grew up in Iowa ... mostly (couple of years in Illinois).
Q: Ever think about leaving for the “big city”?
Yes, I traveled for a company based in Ohio. They offered me a position that required I move to the corporate office ... family kept me in Iowa.
Q: Tell me about your passion for Main Street.
I am passionate about pedestrian-friendly, walkable, bikeable, slower-paced downtowns. Anything that can be done to naturally slow vehicular traffic and enhance the downtown experience ... trees, plants, murals, art, interesting nooks and crannies ... I even love it when a window display changes… it's something new to discover.
Q: Thinking about your role in helping Main Street Keokuk and other communities across the (state or country), what is your favorite part/activity/task?
I loved the many opportunities through the years to train others in the areas of fundraising and the basics of Main Street. Most of all, I love generating new ideas or building on an existing idea/promotion.
Q: What are some of the drastic changes you have witnessed in downtown Keokuk since the city became designated a Main Street Iowa program 1986?
Drastic changes ... painting the forest of yellow traffic signals, curbs, streetlights from caution yellow to a soft green. Wow! What a difference. Taking Estes Park (a small pocket park in our downtown) from an uneven rubble-filled, vacant lot with a southwest mural painted on the adjacent wall, to a beautiful green space with benches, trees, plants and a mural that is unique to Keokuk-recognized as Power City USA. Also, Gateway Park, the east entry into Keokuk from Illinois. When we took on the project, the area was grass (mostly weeds) and the remnants of a rubble wall that was once a chicken hatchery. Today, Gateway Park features an ADA compliant serpentine walk that connects downtown to our number one tourism attraction ... the Mississippi River. Plants, a Keokuk sign and lights welcome visitors to Keokuk. One of the most notable changes was going from 13 discount sales annually to highly successful events and promotions that were not discount-related ... a change in attitudes.
Q: What is your vision for the future of downtown Keokuk?
My vision for the future of downtown is tied up in its buildings and their stories. Richard Moe, National Trust for Historic Preservation, said it best. So, when I say my vision for the future of downtown is tied up in its buildings, what I am really saying is that my vision is for stakeholders, residents, city officials and Main Street volunteers to get what Moe is talking about ... "When you strip away the rhetoric, preservation is simply having the good sense to hold on to things that are well designed, that link us with our past in a meaningful way, and that have plenty of good use left in them." And, "There may have been a time when preservation was about saving an old building here and there, but those days are gone. Preservation is in the business of saving communities and the values they embody." When people embrace preservation as economic development, we'll be well on our way to building an environment that draws people in – into downtown and into the community.
Q: You are very involved in many aspects of community development. What do you do for fun? When do you have time?
Fun for me is "what if" ... what if we had a porch party at 2:00 a.m. in the rain ... what if we organized "The Rowdy Girls" ... what if we had go-kart races downtown, what if we formed an organization that awarded grants without any red tape ... what if we had a graffiti wall downtown ... what if we agreed as a community to hoe in the same row ... without personal agendas getting in the way, what if we dumped every code, every ordinance that said "no" with "how can we" ... what if. The more traditional answer to what I do for fun is that I read, I build teepees out of sticks and sheets, I have porch parties at 2:00 a.m. in the rain, I have lunch with dear friends that keep me grounded, I read cookbooks and dream about having an organized pantry and fridge ... someday. When do I have time? I don't sleep ... just three to four hours a night.
Q: If people want to learn more about downtown Keokuk, who should they contact, or what web address should they visit?
To learn more about downtown Keokuk beginning July 1, contact Kira Kruzsynski at 319.524.5056 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us on the web at mainstreetkeokuk.com.