Published in the Sept. 16-29, 2015 issue of Morgan Hill Life
When our family moved to Morgan Hill 20 years ago, we were drawn to this city because of the downtown. We had come from an urban setting, and while we were enchanted by the open spaces and quiet life style, we were looking for areas where we could connect with our new community and socialize. So many of the communities the Realtors took us to lacked any centralized location we could identify as a “downtown.”
Morgan Hill stood out with its downtown corridor, shops, restaurants and friendly open arms attitude. The first Friday night we were here we went to listen to music and watch people dancing, while others laughed and talked sitting on folded chairs in the street near the local bookstore. We knew we had come to the right place.
Flash forward to this decade and I became aware of the presence of the Morgan Hill Downtown Association. From a pamphlet I learned for $25 I could help support the work of the MHDA. Not wanting to squander my hard earned money, I did some research to find out what this organization did with its funds and learned it helps guide and manage the revitalization efforts of the heart of the city. They do this by having promotional events, networking and being actively involved with other organizations, including the City of Morgan Hill. MHDA keeps merchants, residents and land owners informed of issues effecting the downtown with quarterly mixers and a newsletter.
I learned the Safe Trick or Treat family event, where the children stream downtown to show off their costumes while getting gobs of goodies, is a MHDA event. They are also responsible for such fun events as Ladies Shopping Night Out in early December, the Brew Crawl and Wine Stroll, adult beverage tours of the downtown, and the recent Family Staycation event, which gives children a chance to be treated by our downtown merchants. Bites of Morgan Hill and Off the Menu were designed to showcase the fine downtown restaurants and appeal to the foodies of the town. The MHDA also helps promote and is actively involved in Wine Week, with a different event every day among restaurants and Bubbles Wine Bar.
I learned MHDA helps provide the holiday decor enjoyed by all at the Holiday Parade and during the winter festive season. Another one of its creations is the Indie Market which sold crafts and products along the downtown streets. MHDA also takes an active role in the successful Pop Up Park at Third Street and Monterey Road.
I do not live or have a business downtown, but, like everyone in Morgan Hill, I benefit from a strong downtown. My membership lets me be more connected and informed about our city. Most of all, I have a fun time with a great group of people.
Kathy Sullivan is a board member of the Morgan Hill Downtown Association. She wrote this column for Morgan Hill Life.