By Al Pheley | March 29, 2013
"Albion is my home! What better way to give back to this wonderful community than interning with community leaders who are committed to improving the economics and quality of life right here in Albion?" That enthusiasm and dedication is typical of Mallory Ayotte, a first-year student at Albion College and the newest Albion Community Intern, named through the College's Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.
Although Ayotte's internship is with the Downtown Development Authority (DDA), she will work on three collaborative projects that will include the Albion Mayor and City Manager offices, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Bricks Street Association, a merchant group dedicated to promoting downtown businesses.
In 2012 the DDA began its Façade Grant Program, which provides matching funds to merchants and landlords to help offset the costs of repairing, painting, and enhancing storefronts along Superior Street. The program proved highly successful, with fifteen merchants taking advantage of the program. At least 20 matching grants will be made available during 2013.
Ayotte will coordinate the program, which includes redesigning the application, meeting with merchants and landlords to advertise the program, coordinating the application materials, following grant recipient progress, and assuring timely submission of receipts for reimbursement. "One of the things I love the most about Albion is the downtown area," Ayotte said. "Many people don't see some of the great architecture that exists on Superior Street and the adjoining area. Last year's grants really made a difference in bringing out the details in the buildings. I can't wait to see the improvements by the end of this summer."
In addition to the Façade Grant Program, Ayotte will be instrumental in two other highly visible events in Albion: The July Classic Car Show and November's Albion Aglow. On July 3, not only will the local skies light up with the annual fireworks display, but Superior Street will be home to between 80 and 100 classic and specialty cars. Working with the DDA partners, Ayotte will coordinate the advertising, registration, music, and awards for this year's event. She will handle similar responsibilities for the Albion Aglow program, which includes a merchant window decorating contest, the winter parade, and a visit by Santa Claus that kicks off the holiday season and brings many people to Albion. "I am going to be busy this year," Ayotte said, "but the results for the community and my own experience will make it all worthwhile."
The Albion Community Intern Endowment was created by generous donations from the Class of 1960 in recognition of their 50th anniversary of graduating from Albion College. Through experiential opportunities, Albion College students engage in efforts to improve the economic vitality and quality of life that is so critical to the region's residents and the College.