Ideas abound to make Victoria Ave even better

By Laurel Stowell

The new main person at Mainstreet Wanganui is overflowing with ideas.
She wants to make Victoria Ave the prettiest heritage-style street in New Zealand while creating promotional opportunities and foot traffic for the businesses.
"The job was originally advertised as a part-time position, but they said they didn't think I could instigate all my ideas in a part-time position," Elise Goodge said.
She started full-time work as Mainstreet Wanganui marketing and administration manager on January 5.
The 30-year-old has spent the last three years as event manager for Capital E, a Wellington education, events and theatre facility for children.
Before that she was producing events at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa.
She replaces Louise Martin, who left the Mainstreet job at the end of 2009.
"My real hope, and I guess it's a long-term one, is to create an annual programme of activity that brings people down to the main street and generates sales opportunities for businesses but also makes mainstreet an exciting place to be."
A heritage weekend, a Halloween event, an Easter egg hunt and reinstating the Mainstreet Business Awards are all on her list.
"I ran Wellington's largest Halloween event for three years," she said.
Some people were against it, and had negative perceptions about Halloween, but she was undeterred.
"If people don't want to participate then that's totally fine. But most people have a mischievous spirit, and like to get dressed up and have an excuse to get the kids out of the house."
The first event Ms Goodge will be involved with is a heritage market day on Wellington Anniversary weekend, at the same time as a car rally and the Bushy Park Festival.

Brought up in Wanganui, she studied performing arts in the United Kingdom, then returned to New Zealand to find there were already plenty of out-of-work actors and she had a talent for production. She then studied film and television production in Wellington.
She and her partner have bought a house in Wanganui and she said it was not so different from the capital.
"Wellington is a village. There's not a huge contrast."
Mainstreet Wanganui has two other full-time staff members and a part-time administration person.
It is funded by a compulsory council levy on businesses in Victoria Ave's four main blocks and the side streets one block back, and by voluntary memberships of businesses further out. The agency also gets grant and contract money from other sources.
Old Town is to be added to its area in future. It has three committees and Peter Robinson is chairman of the executive board.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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