Julie Stewart talks about DuBois like it’s her child, with major passion and love for its past, present and future.
She recently returned as executive director of the Downtown DuBois Revitalization Group.
As excited as she is to be back, Stewart says the goal is to pass the torch to the “next generation of leadership.” If young people don’t become engaged in the area, it won’t succeed, she adds.
A big focus for Stewart is marketing and tourism, gaining the support of local residents and helping area businesses succeed.
“We have investors doing important development work right now and we want more of that,” she said. “We have reasonable real estate, great strides in infrastructure and streetscape done by the city of DuBois, and really engaged businesses and residents.”
Stewart adds that the Penn Highlands DuBois expansion and Penn State Launchbox Innovation Hub downtown are positive impacts for the town as a whole.
“We want people to come here, and stay here, start a business, or buy a building and renovate,” she said. “We have a really diverse business community, and we want to expand on that.”
She has lived all over the United States, Stewart said, and realized DuBois was a good place to raise children.
“I adopted it as my hometown because I had moved so much, and I wanted to be a part of the volunteerism and the sense of community,” she said.
There are several things Stewart loves about the downtown area, she says, including its “eccentric, cozy European” feel.
“Downtown is embracing what is unique and difficult to change,” she said.
The Downtown Group is heavily focused on marketing the downtown area to visitors using technology resources such as social media and area partners like newspapers, radio stations, Visit Clearfield County and the Pennsylvania Wilds, Stewart said. They plan to communicate with property owners regularly and “keep everyone in the loop,” while also recruiting new businesses.
“We want to show people what we have to offer here,” Stewart said.