For the first time, Seymour Main Street has a full-time executive director to serve as a champion for the downtown, helping guide future development and growth.

Seymour native Becky Schepman has been named to the position by the organization’s board of directors. She will officially begin her duties Jan. 9 in a new Main Street office in city hall.

Her salary is being paid for through $50,000 from the Seymour Redevelopment Commission using tax increment financing, or TIF, district revenue.

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Main Street President Tom Goecker said Schepman was chosen to lead the organization for her knowledge of downtown Seymour and her wealth of experience and education in marketing and communications.

“She is very passionate about our community and has a great vision for how to take our downtown to the next level,” he said.

Having most recently worked as a community service representative at Covered Bridge Health Campus, Schepman has experience forming relationships with others and bringing people together to benefit a cause.

And that’s exactly what she’ll get to do in her new role — create and develop partnerships to revitalize downtown Seymour.

She will work closely with business and property owners and those who live, work and spend money doing business downtown.

Her background also includes a 5-year stint serving on the Jackson County Council giving her connections with local politicians and community leaders. She has a degree in broadcast journalism from Western Kentucky University and also has worked as a fitness instructor at Snap Fitness.

It’s difficult for Schepman to hide her excitement about her new job, and her love and enthusiasm for downtown Seymour, she said.

“I was interested in the position for Main Street because I grew up in Seymour, and I have fond memories of going downtown as a child,” she said.

She recalls her brother getting his hair cut at Lowell Chadwell’s barbershop, purchasing bathing suits at Paris Style and jewelry at Tiemeyer’s.

“I am sure we shopped other places growing up, but I remember shopping downtown because it was special,” she said.

She wants her own children and future generations to feel the same way about downtown Seymour, because a healthy and vibrant downtown is an important sign of a successful community and helps in attracting businesses and residents to the city, she said.

“I want my kids to have a downtown they love too,” she said. “My hope is that they want to grow up and raise their families in Seymour one day.”

One of her goals for the downtown is to continue to support and encourage more downtown property owners to renovate and fix up their buildings. Seymour Main Street continues to offer a loan and grant program for building repairs and upgrades.

“We need to be able to preserve more of the beautiful buildings we have downtown, and it would resemble the place I loved growing up,” Schepman said.

She also wants to help make the downtown a destination for families, especially on Saturdays. That will require her to work with the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce and local realtors and developers to attract new shops, restaurants and other attractions.

“I would love to see more outdoor dining and things that families could do together,” she said. “My vision is downtown will become family and fun Saturday morning shopping trips together.”

Although there is a lot of work to be done, Schepman said there are many current places downtown that are thriving such as Rails Craft Brew and Eatery, Larrison’s Diner, Union Hardware, Bullwinkle’s Family Restaurant, Lea Boutique, Artistic Impressions, Java Joint, Beautiful Chaos, Bite the Bullet, The Picket Fence, the Copper Rooster, Heart’s Desire, This Old Guitar, Greemann’s Furniture and others.

“I think we can keep building on that success,” she said. “I think the progress downtown so far is wonderful and it gives us a great anchor to build on for our future.”

She is excited about developments coming to the downtown including a new Italian restaurant and a gateway park.

Schepman also wants to use her knowledge of other communities as a resource for moving Seymour forward. She lived in Bowling Green for 13 years, where she said she enjoyed eating downtown and attending concerts in the park.

She hopes to be able to increase attendance at existing downtown events and create new ones.

“My husband and I also enjoy visiting other downtowns when we travel,” she said. “I think I can take bits and pieces from all my experiences and bring them to Seymour.”

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.