Maplewood Director Community Development for Maplewood, Rachelle L’Ecuyer (Pronounced: Ra-shel Le-kwee-ay), marked 10 years in the position in April. She wrote about the milestone in her LinkedIn profile:
I am in an awkward position here because I am the one who handles the PR and communications for the city. If one of my colleagues reached a milestone, I would be the one to write about it and promote it, so if I am going to do this, I have to do it for myself. Indulge me and forgive me but after a decade of working hard at something, I want to say something.
Over the last decade, I have had the honor of working with a dedicated group of professionals. I see the commission that oversees the downtown (along with myself) as stewards of the area. Downtown Maplewood possesses an historic character that is the cornerstone of the foundation we strive to enhance and solidify for future momentum.
I took the reigns of the downtown development and guided it by identifying the types of businesses that would become part of the community and serve the downtown by attracting a regional customer base. I developed business programs to serve those businesses to help them stabilize during the most vulnerable stage a business faces: opening their doors.
I realized early on that we needed to bring people from around the region to Maplewood. I developed a series of events (all of these were my concoctions): Let Them Eat Art, Women Making History, The Sweet Tooth Tour, The Maplewood Coffee Crawl, Stringfest (formerly the Harp Attack and Fiddlefest). These events have brought thousands of people to Maplewood.
Also, during my tenure, I worked with St. Louis Earth Day’s Green Dining Alliance and we achieved the distinction of the Nation’s first Green Dining District.
Finally, for one big moment, the 7300 block of Manchester was fully leased. Something that had not occurred in over a decade.
Acknowledging this milestone, I have the sense that I have reached a marker and I look ahead asking what’s next and what needs to be added, changed and made better?
I work with a dedicated team of people at Maplewood City Hall but there are also others who have been a part of this over the last decade:
I couldn’t have achieved all of this without the guidance of Rob Birenbaum, whose business experience, commitment to Maplewood, wisdom, common sense and copy editing skills have been an invaluable resource to me. A lot of credit goes to Rob more than me and I know that’s more than he would ever take!
Heather Testa stands out as an influencing force, she came to Maplewood and developed the look and the sense of place. Matt McInerney designed our brochures and banners and other marketing pieces. Matt and Heather don’t just come up with ideas off the top of their heads, they listened to us, they researched historical documents and they walked around and talked to people.
I also must thank Brian Pelletier for having faith in me when I told him (and stalked him for almost 2 years) that Maplewood was the best place for his second location for his business.
Finally, last but not least, Michael Kilfoy, whose unrivaled design skills have given our events a brand and a professional sheen that helps us attract hundreds of people to our events.