About

Formed in 2005, the Downtown Garner Association (DGA) fosters downtown revitalization through the administration of Garner’s Main Street program in a public-private partnership with the Town of Garner. The organization received 501(c)3 status in 2007. This 5-9 member Board of Directors works with the town’s Downtown Development Manager to set strategic priorities for downtown economic development within a context of historic preservation. DGA’s Board of Directors meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 4:30 pm at 120 E. Main Street in Downtown Garner.

DGA develops a Plan of Work each fall during the board’s annual retreat to set priorities for the coming year. In addition, the Historic Downtown Garner Plan (2009) and the North Garner Plan (2003), developed with input from the community and adopted by the Town of Garner, continue to provide a long-term vision for this area.

DGA Board of Directors

Jason Waters

Jason Waters

Board Chair

When I was a child, Downtown Garner was a cornerstone of the community, and I want to see that again. I have fond memories of playing baseball at GBI, and coming downtown for Fireman’s Day & the annual Christmas parade.

I joined the Downtown Garner Association’s Board of Directors because I believe Downtown Garner can become a thriving hub of local flavor and a destination for young people and families based around transportation and recreational needs

Mary Elizabeth Twiddy

Mary Elizabeth Twiddy

Vice Chair

My family moved to Garner because we wanted to live in a community that felt like a small town, but wasn’t too far away from anything. At the first Downtown Garner Food Truck Rodeo, I thought, “This is cute, but it’s so small and there’s so little foot traffic. Wouldn’t it be great to make downtown a destination that people not only knew about, but where they wanted to go?”

I want Downtown Garner to be that destination! Downtown is a gathering place, a place for parades and events, a place to bring the whole town together.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my community as a member of the DGA Board. I’m anxious to see all that we will accomplish in the next decade or so!

Greg Cols

Secretary

Downtown Garner is a unique, charming, but small business district that contains so much potential. Its physical appearance has changed very little over time – when you enter downtown Garner, old becomes new. Main Street offers each visitor an opportunity to set aside the busyness of today’s world, and experience modern comforts and convenience in a renewed historical setting.

I joined the DGA board because my passion is connecting people. I enjoy design – both the physical and sociological aspects – creating spaces where people across generations are welcomed, can interact, and are made to feel at home.

I would like to see Downtown Garner own its future, and attract the best entertainment, dining, commercial, and residential options.

Jihan Hodges

Jihan Hodges

Director

My first impression of Downtown Garner was that it was quaint but underdeveloped and underused.  I would love to see Downtown Garner become a gathering place for the community and the heart of Garner. Somewhere people could grab a bite to eat with family and friends, before heading over to the local watering hole. A place to watch an outdoor movie, a play, or visit an art exhibit. A place people could meet up for coffee, go shopping at a local artisans market, or pick up fresh produce from the farmer’s market.

I joined the DGA Board of Directors so I can be a part of making our vision for Downtown Garner a reality.

Chris Wellington

Chris Wellington

Treasurer

Katie Neumann

Katie Neumann

Director

Brent Miller

Director

My first impression of Downtown Garner was that it’s filled with potential, but lacking the draw needed to become a destination for residents and visitors. Downtown Garner has a rich history, but is also flush with opportunity for growth.

While my experience in education may not seem aligned with the efforts of the GRA, I frequently interact with stakeholders to improve the perceptions and realities of the schools I have been privileged to work within; similarly, it is my hope that I can serve as a catalyst for growth in downtown and help residents and visitors alike see Downtown Garner as a family-friendly location that serves a centerpiece for the community.

Downtown Development Manager

Mari Howe

As the Downtown Development Manager since 2015, I’ve acted as a liaison between the Downtown Garner Association and the Town of Garner.  I’m responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the non-profit, running the town’s Main Street program, and supporting downtown businesses, property owners, and residents.

I’m the point of contact for downtown events including the Pop Up Market, Outdoor Movies at GPAC, and the April Foods Day and Trick or Eat food truck rodeos.  I can assist with business and property inquiries – please contact me at 919-773-4002 or mhowe@garnernc.gov if you’d like to discuss opening a business or developing property in Downtown Garner.  My office is located at 120 E. Main Street in the Gearworks building.  

Downtown Garner Association