Lara Plocha: The Downtown Augusta Alliance
YEARS OF SERVICE: Three
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: The Downtown Augusta Alliance, or d(a)², is a grassroots organization designed to promote downtown as a multi-use neighborhood. It's funded entirely through memberships and fundraising efforts.
WHAT SHE DOES: "I spearheaded the organization, got it going. I was president for the first two years. This year, David Hutchison of the Book Tavern became president and I stayed on the board. My primary focus is just trying to keep all of the cogs of the wheel together, running smoothly. I coordinate most of the events that we do, such as the Jingle Bell Jaunt (and) Holly Jolly Saturday. A lot of what I do is just looking at what other communities are doing, what's successful, what's not working, how can we change how we're doing things to put on better events, to communicate with our membership, to get the word out there more. To brand downtown as sort of the heartbeat of our community."
WHY SHE DOES IT: "I volunteer because I have a passion for downtown. Not just downtown Augusta. I really, firmly believe that in any community the downtown is the heartbeat of that community. And when that heart is healthy, the whole community thrives. Downtown is where it starts. In most of your Southern towns, downtowns have such a significant amount of history behind them, and that's where your roots are. That's where you get your sense of community, your sense of place. And you cannot replicate that. People have tried. This is where people should come to network, to meet, to build relationships. And it's my neighborhood. We live downtown. We go to church downtown. Our kids go to school downtown. Pretty much everything we do is here."
HOW YOU CAN HELP: Volunteers are needed to help disseminate information through newsletters, and getting the word out about events and to help coordinate events and specials with downtown businesses. Volunteers are also needed to help work downtown events. Monetary contributions are needed and will be used to further promote downtown Augusta and the mission of the Downtown Alliance.