Cory Reeder has never given less than his best effort to anything he’s involved in.
The Columbus High School alumnus was a prolific youth athlete who became a standout two-sport (baseball and football) athlete at Wayne State College from 1989-1994, which cemented his place in the institution’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
He and his wife, Keri, own Maximus Restaurant and Lounge and the popular downtown staple Reeder’s 11th Street Grub and Pub on top of having been involved in numerous nonprofit and community committee efforts throughout the years.
So, when he joined the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) Board in February 2023, he intended to once again make a difference and help his community.
“For me, it’s about doing good for the whole,” said Reeder, who has actually been contributing to different Downtown Business Improvement District initiatives dating back to 2009.
Reeder is the lone 11th Street representative on the current mayor-appointed Downtown BID board, but he would like to help foster change with additional representation on the board in the future and get his fellow 11th Street property and business owners onboard with the BID.
During a July 10th BID Board meeting that was open to the public in City Hall within the new Columbus Community Building, much of the discussion centered around 11th Street.
Present were Reeder; Board President Josh Johnson, of Columbus Bank and Trust; Board Vice President Kevin Johnson, of Wize Buys; Barbara Duffy, of Barbara Jean’s, who is the board secretary; as well as board members Robert “Bob” Stachura, of Columbus Tire and Service Center; Kristin Stock, of Artzy Haven; and Dick Tooley, of Tooley’s Drug & Home Care.
City Administrator Tara Vasicek, City Planning and Economic Development Coordinator Jean Van Iperen, City Public Communications Manager Matt Lindberg and Columbus Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Theresa Grape were also in attendance.
The board will not have the ability to spend any funds until the City’s new fiscal year kicks in on Oct. 1, 2023, but it isn’t stopping members from making good use of their time until that point. Although not finalized, members discussed the idea of purchasing new Christmas decorations in fiscal year 2024 in time for Christmas next year and displaying the new ones along 11th Street first before expanding north across the railroad tracks to 13th and 14th streets. Board members seemed to be in agreement that once they finalize budget plans for the new fiscal year, 11th Street improvements must be prioritized in some form.
Board President Josh Johnson repeatedly said he feels the 11th Street area has a lot of potential with a lot of entertainment options such as eateries, events spaces and shopping, which board members agreed with him on.
Van Iperen said the BID Board was formed to make improvements throughout downtown, not just 13th Street. So the conversation at the latest meeting was another step in the right direction.
“I see the value of 11th Street. I think there’s untapped wealth along that street because there are so many entertainment-type businesses,” she said. “I think the BID Board recognizes that. I’m encouraged they’re taking the steps necessary to include them in the improvements they want to make within the district.”
Reeder was pleased with the dialogue, echoing Van Iperen’s sentiment. He said he hopes the 11th Street business and property owners will soon understand the BID Board is committed to its promise of making improvements across the entire downtown district within its boundaries, including south of the tracks.
“It’s an older part of downtown that needs to be improved,” Reeder said. “Hopefully my fellow business and property owners down there can see it. Our board has strongly stated our goal is to distribute everything evenly as possible across the whole area.”
The longtime business owner reiterated downtown Columbus can thrive if everyone involved works together for the collective good. He’s determined to help bring real change to the entire downtown district.
“For downtown Columbus, it’s imperative that 11th Street be included in the conversation because there are thriving businesses down there,” Reeder said, noting the restaurants, bars and antique stores, among others. “We don’t want 11th Street to feel like the other side of the tracks. It’s all downtown … I’m encouraged because I know the community could benefit. Again, for me, it's truly about the good of the whole.”
Downtown BID members serve three-year terms. Although there are currently no active openings, Van Iperen said property and business owners within the BID can reach out to her via email at Jean.VanIperen@columbusne.us. to state their interest for future consideration.
Other topics were discussed at the board meeting. Check out the story about the Board's discussion regarding branding the district by clicking here.
The BID Board has scheduled its next meeting for noon on Monday, Aug. 7th, 2023, in the large conference room at City Hall on the third level of the Columbus Community Building.
(ABOUT THE PHOTO: Columbus businessman Cory Reeder poses for a photo in front of his Reeder's 11th Street Grub and Pub along 11th Street in downtown Columbus. Reeder and other Business Improvement District Board members want to bring change to the entire downtown, including along 11th Street.)