The Kent Downtown Partnership is a collective of professionals, business owners, and community leaders dedicated to honoring downtown Kent's rich history while ensuring a vibrant future. They say "many hands makes light work." We need your leadership, ideas, energy, and action. If you are ready to join us,
The KDP Board and committees are comprised of Kent small business owners and individuals who are committed to accomplishing the organization overall mission.
We have a variety of opportunities for you to help contribute to the overall success of our downtown. For more information, please contact us at Info@kentdowntown.org or 253-813-6976
Board of Directors
Jeff Middleton, President, CarStars
Rick Roland, Roland CPAs
Gregg Haffner, Curran Law Firm
Mike Hanis, Hanis, Irvine & Prothero Law Firm
Suzanne Cameron, Around the Clock, Inc.
Kevin Grossman Green River College
Alice Marshall, Running Stitch Fabrics
Patty Sikora, Kent Lions
Elizabeth Scharnhorst, PACCAR
Randall Smith, All Pro Building Maintenance
Garry Stewart, The Doorman Services
Michelle Wilmot, City of Kent, Economic & Community Development
Toni Troutner, Kent Lutheran Church
Samantha Smith, Curran Law Firm
Judy Woods, Retired
Kelly Spreitzer, Accesso/ShoWare
Zenovia Harris, Kent Chamber of Commerce – Ad Hoc
Dee Moschel, Lifetime Honorary Member
Annual Dinner and Auction Committee
Chair: Polly Shepherd (Kent Reporter)
Responsible for procurement, ticket sales and staging the annual dinner and auction.
Chair: Susan Bagrationoff, Owner, Artsy Fartsy
Clean-Up Day Committee
Chair: Garry Stewart
Responsible for organizing KDP’s 2 annual Clean-Up Days in May and September.
Chair: Suzanne Cameron
This committee supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical and visual assets that set the commercial district apart. Our goal is to create an inviting atmosphere through window displays, signage, colorful banners, sidewalks, street lights and landscaping.
Economic Development Committee
Focuses on capital, incentives, and other economic and financial tools to assist new and existing businesses, catalyze property development, and create a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and innovators that drive local economies.
Marketing and Promotions Committee
This committee positions the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics.
Chair: Dawn Hong
Responsible for reaching out to members, staging membership campaigns, and helping with recruitment of members.
Safety & Security Committee
Chair: Garry Stewart (The Doorman Service Co.)
Identifies and resolves all safety and security issues related to the downtown retail and business core.
We, Kent Downtown Partnership (a charitable non-profit, 501-C-3 organization), goals are to vitalize the historic part of Downtown Kent. We want to work with businesses and residents to make it the thriving downtown we all wish it to be.
In 2017, Kent Downtown Partnership (KDP) celebrated 25 years of being in business. Prior to that, for ten years, it was the Kent Downtown Association. KDP is an organization that has been around for a long time and is making a difference. All of us would like to see the changes happen immediately, but that doesn’t happen very often. But, with patience, we have prevailed. With your help, we can do even more.
The KDP works to be sure our businesses and downtown neighborhoods are not left out when discussions happen; be it with the City of Kent, King County, Kent Chamber, or Kent Station. We want to be sure we know what is going on in their world and we want them to know what we are doing. We do not want to duplicate our efforts.
Someone recently asked our Executive Director what was the one thing she thought would help our downtown right now. Her answer: It is critical for our businesses and residents to understand the value of working together and to cross-market. Equally critical is to have a website and use social media to sell your business and your product(s).
KDP’s goal is not only to vitalize the downtown. It is about holding onto values, life experiences, and hopes for the future generations by preserving our downtown history. The downtown is the heart and soul of its community and that my friends is your historic Downtown Kent.
Like other successful businesses, it isn’t just about what we are doing today but what we are doing to position ourselves to compete in today’s market. That takes some long-range planning. It is difficult to see what KDP is doing as it is not something that is always tangible.
Downtown Kent is a wonderful place and will, with patience and decision of our businesses and residents and the Board of Directors of KDP, be a thriving downtown. Nobody, nor does a community/neighborhood become successful without partnerships.
KDP is so proud of the many partnerships we have in our community. We work closely with the City of Kent, Grater Kent Historic Society, the service clubs, especially the Kent Lions Club and are open to supporting anybody that can help make a positive difference in downtown.
What are some of the accomplishments and projects Kent Downtown Partnership has achieved?
Beautification of downtown
Parking; working with city on a regular basis to figure out ways to increase parking
Lighting up downtown; we have done this by putting roof lighting on our businesses and want to work with city to improve lighting in downtown by putting in more street lights
Banners; we put up banners to communicate what is here; as well as to add color and energy
Benches, trash containers, planters, hanging baskets; all these are a direct result of our Design Committee’s commitment to improving the look and feel of downtown
Bring more art into downtown; the Penguin family and the Mystical Creature are two examples of art but they also create a reason for people to come into downtown
We host a Third Thursday Art Night monthly that brings new artists into downtown as well as a plethora of musicians each month
We work closely with the city departments so we can contact them directly when a problem arises and get it fixed
We remove graffiti, pick up litter in partnership with the City of Kent and Tom Burkley’s KentCleanStreets project
We developed a Neighborhood Association for downtown so our residents would have a format to share their comments and get involved by volunteering
Work closely with the City’s Economic & Community Development Dept. to help fill vacancies in downtown
Help property owners with preservation of their historic buildings; such as our current project Morrill Bank Restoration Project
We are working with the City to raise money to build a replica of the Lunar Rover that was built in Kent, by Boeing Company, 50 years ago. Why? Because it will be placed in our downtown Kherson Park.
We are working with a group that purchased a pipe organ that is over 100 years old to have it restored and placed in a cultural center in downtown that will draw people here
We helped raise money to put in the colored lights at the Meeker St., Highway 167 overpass
We are at the table with the city, county, whoever, when it affects the downtown
Why do you want to be a volunteer of Kent Downtown Partnership?
We have several committees of which you can be involved in. These committees were created from an organization we are a member of called “Main Street”. This is a nationally known organization of which we are also a member at the national level.
Organizational: This is where you will find our Board of Directors working. They meet at Eberle Vivian building on Railroad Avenue once a month. The Board of Directors handle the day-to-day operations as well as developing strategies and goals for the year(s). We want to be more inclusive of our diverse cultures and are working on connecting them with the city’s resources. This is their downtown too.
Economic Development Committee: They meets once a month at Maggie’s on Meeker: They work on a variety of things, such as, bringing educational programs to our downtown businesses, helping sustain the businesses we have while also working on bringing new businesses into our vacant properties. Even though we have no authority over property owners, we aren’t shy in sharing what we need them to do. It might be to paint their building, or clean-up around their building or work with us and the city in helping property owners secure new tenants. Ultimately, it is up to the property owners as to whom they lease to. This committee was also responsible for the lighting project installing roof lighting on businesses in downtown. We have more to do but a great deal has been done already. They also work closely with the city on other issues that impact our downtown.
Promotions & Marketing Committee: They meet at the KDP Office, 202 W. Gowe Street. This committee oversees the majority of the events that happen in downtown. For instance, Cornucopia, Farmer’s Market and Winterfest is hosted by the Kent Lions but we try to help where we can. This committee oversees all our marketing of events and activities. With new apartments in downtown we need to find out what they want and provide those events/services.
Third Thursday Art Night/Walk: They meet once a month at KDP. They are part of the Promotions & Marketing Committee but focus on the art night activities; such as bringing a variety of artists into downtown; be it painters, jewelry designers, etched glass or musicians.
Design Committee: They meet at the KDP office. They are responsible for many of the improvements in downtown. They brought art into downtown with the Penguins sculptures and dragonflies. Over the years they have purchased new benches, planters, trash containers, and provide the hanging baskets in the spring. Our chair also keeps an eagle eye out for areas in downtown that need attention. This program offers some financial help with façade improvement grants to encourage businesses to keep their storefronts clean and fresh looking.
Safety & Security Committee: They meet at the downtown library; enter through the back door. This is a program found under the Design Committee but meets on their own. They meet monthly and businesses and residents are welcome to attend. The Kent Police Department is in attendance and we discuss what concerns we have and the police share current crime trends. This committee also manages the two TeamUp2CleanUp days where people/groups help pick up trash, pull weeds and in general, help clean-up the downtown.
Preservation: KDP is working towards restoring what is now the Alleluia Catholic Store at First Ave, South & Gowe St., to what it used to look like in 1924. If you walk by the building, on the Gowe Street side, you will see signage on the building that shows you what it looked like then and what it would look like if we removed the stucco.
As you can see, KDP is busy making a difference in the downtown. We would love to have you join us in any capacity that you can. We have work parties, and sometimes need some expertise. That can range from pulling weeds, to helping pour concrete or figure out short and long term strategies and everything in between. We enjoy matching your skills and passions with the work we are doing.
When We Meet
Board Meetings once monthly, last Wed. of the month 8-9:30 AM
Economic Development once monthly third Tuesday of the month 7:45-9:00 AM
Promotions/Marketing once monthly third Friday of the month 9-10 AM
Design once monthly last Friday of the month 10-11 AM
Safety & Security once monthly second Wednesday of the month 9:10-10 AM