New leadership sets goals for ‘different, historical, unique’ cultural district

Katie Devore

The Main Street Cultural District is looking forward to 2012 with new leaders and goals for a successful year.

Tom Drenthe has settled into his role as executive director after taking over this February. As executive director, it is Drenthe’s job to run the daily operations and execute the plans and goals of MSCD.

He believes the continued development of downtown is a key to the community.

“We want to make downtown Ames the destination district and the heart of the community,”Drenthe said.

Upcoming projects like this year’s farmers market have Drenthe excited.

“This year’s market will be bigger, more dynamic,” Drenthe said.

The MSCD and the Ames community have displayed a close-knit relationship through community events and projects like the farmers market and the Fourth of July parade.

Mandy McWherter, who started event coordinating in October 2011, is the new events coordinator of MSCD as of Jan. 1. McWherter graduated from Iowa State in December. While at Iowa State, McWherter gained professional experience in event coordinating through the Des Moines Art Center and the Ames Fourth of July parade this past summer. Getting involved in clubs, networking and volunteering helped her land the position.

“Event coordinating is very competitive. Volunteering helped me get into the full-time position at MSCD,” McWherter said.

One of McWherter’s goals as events coordinator is to bridge the gap between ISU students and downtown.

“Strengthening that relationship with students and Main Street Cultural District is important. There are so many great opportunities,” McWherter said.

Downtown Ames has a local flair that supports the community. “It is different, historical and unique,” Drenthe said.