Chamber receives city grants, hopes to host community events in the future
Last updated 2/10/2021 at 12:10pm
The Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce has big plans for the future.
But as might be expected during a pandemic, all of its plans are contingent on the region continuing to make progress in the fight against COVID-19.
The chamber was awarded three co-sponsorship grant awards from the city of Mukilteo last month. The grants will enable the chamber to use city facilities at no fee. The chamber is in the early discussion stages for three potential events – the return of the farmers market, a concert series at Lighthouse Park, and a community gala.
"We are absolutely cautiously optimistic," chamber CEO Kandace Barnes said of the prospect of hosting events for the community in the future. "We're thinking about strategies about how we can provide some sort of options for our community even with restrictions. We're thinking how can we have events that are outside? How can we create safe spaces for our community to have events?"
One of the chamber's ideas is to have music at Lighthouse Park. The concert series likely would be a monthly event during the summer. It would be held in a small venue and finish early in the evening.
"We want to be respectful of the neighborhood," Barnes said.
A more ambitious event that would require a significant amount of commitment and participation from residents would be the return of a farmers market. The market, most recently held Wednesdays at Lighthouse Park, has been on hiatus for the last two years. It ran from June through September.
"It really takes a grand community effort to pull that off," Barnes said. "It's something that the chamber can't pursue on our own. There's a broader community involvement. It's all volunteer based. We really need to have some champions coming in from the community to get that going."
The key for a successful farmers market, Barnes added, is to have a consistent core group of volunteers.
"Because it's a weekly event, it's difficult to get those really committed volunteers," Barnes said. "Farmers markets can be complicated to manage. It takes a lot of effort from the community."
The chamber also is looking at putting together a community gala at Rosehill Community Center.
"It would be an opportunity to recognize individuals, community members and businesses who step up throughout the year and who support our community," Barnes said.
"We have a lot of nonprofits that do a lot of hard, good work. We have a lot of for-profit businesses that spend a lot of time and money in the community. We're looking at ways of celebrating them."
Barnes acknowledged that the community gala and farmers market might not take place in 2021 due to COVID restrictions for indoor activities and a lack of time for proper planning.
"None of these events are approved," she said. "They are under discussion with our board and the community at large."
It's important to have these talks, Barnes said, even if the chamber isn't able to host any community events this year.
"Hopefully, this starts conversations in some of these areas. If restrictions don't allow these events, we'll continue to look at options in 2022."