HOBART | Longtime downtown florist shop owner Ron Knickerbocker admits the Downtown Merchants Association lost its momentum a few years ago.
"It fell away for some time," Knickerbocker, the owner of Kellen's Florist, said.
Now, with some direction by the city and an event planned for Saturday, the downtown group is looking forward to a new start.
"This, the event planned on Saturday, is a baby step to start with. We need to crawl before we can walk," Knickerbocker said.
The group, in a joint venture with the Special Events Committee, is hosting a trick or treat event from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday in downtown Hobart.
Costumed children can trick or treat at participating businesses along Main and Third streets.
Participants should look for businesses with tables outside or an orange poster in storefronts to collect their goodies, Special Events Coordinator Raeann Trakas said.
Children's activities, face painting and craft making will be available in the parking lot at the intersection of Third and Main.
Those activities are being sponsored by the city, Trakas said.
The pre-Halloween event is the initial one for the downtown group with the possibility of Christmas holiday events planned for the near future, both Trakas and Knickerbocker said.
Knickerbocker said he envisions fun holiday activities including the possibility of carriage rides in the downtown.
"We're moving in the right direction," Knickerbocker said.
Trakas said she was asked by Mayor Brian Snedecor to meet with downtown business representatives to be a catalyst in a reorganization.
The group met in August for the first time and discussed future plans by the city to construct gateways or special signage to promote the new Lakefront District.
"The city is investing in the downtown and we want merchants to invest with us."
The group has held subsequent meetings and plans to next meet at 9 a.m. Nov. 7 at the Hobart Police, Court and Community Complex, 705 E. 4th St.