One of the most familiar faces at any public event in Enid is Lindy Chambers, project manager of Main Street Enid.
Now that may change a little as Chambers announced her retirement Thursday from the organization.
Chambers has been with Main Street for 18 years, beginning as a volunteer when the group was formed in 1994, later becoming assistant director and then director. Chambers believes she has accomplished a lot and it is time to “hand over the reins.”
“I felt it was a good time to make the decision. Main Street is in good shape now and has a promising future,” she said. “We’re looking at getting more young people involved as I head off to the next chapter of my life.”
Chambers was hired as assistant director in 1998 and became director in 2001.
Since she began with Main Street, the organization has accomplished a number of milestones. Chambers thinks the major one was creating an outdoor dining ordinance, with eight restaurants now having such facilities. She said she is proud of the al fresco presence in downtown Enid, and thanked city of Enid officials for their assistance in designing and approving the ordinance.
Another major accomplishment was facade removal on downtown buildings, which reveals the original architecture of the buildings and turns them back into the historical structures they are.
“Those buildings have beautiful architecture filled with relevant businesses,” she said.
Another accomplishment has been making Enid known for its live music scene, partnering with Gaslight Theatre and the Q Spot. She said the Main Street board has seen the importance of the music scene, and Main Street pays the rent for the Third Thursday music events in the Turpin Theater in the Gaslight building.
Enid also has become known for its Enid Lights Up the Plains annual celebration the Friday following Thanksgiving, officially opening the Christmas shopping season. The event features activities downtown during the evening, with businesses staying open late, and concludes with a fireworks show by Western Enterprises.
Chambers said a major milestone for Main Street has been spreading the message of the downtown and informing people what the area is.
“Our downtown will probably never be the downtown of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, but it can still be relevant and it is changing,” she said.
Chambers thanked the many volunteers who have made Main Street work during the years. She also is proud of the partnerships Main Street forged with Vance Air Force Base, the city of Enid, Garfield County, the Enid News & Eagle, radio stations, PEGASYS and its partnership with Park Avenue Thrift.
“I’m also proud of the fact we have changed so much since we became a Main Street community in 1994. I think we helped provide the synergy for change,” she said. “Before 1994, there was no Leonardo’s, no downtown ballpark and no Enid Symphony Orchestra downtown.”
The Enid Symphony had been operating for many years, but moved to its present downtown location after 1994.
“Not that we did all that, but maybe we helped to provide incentive and atmosphere to entice those things downtown. People could see the possibilities after Main Street came, of what could be,” Chambers said.
Chambers is particularly grateful to the volunteers, some as young as 8 and some as old as 102-year-old Maxine Austin.
“We wouldn’t be where we are if not for the volunteers of all ages,” she said.
Enid was named winner of the Great American Main Street Award in 2001, the highest honor a Main Street program can receive. Chambers has been named outstanding Main Street Manager and is nominated again this year for that award.
Lynn Smith, one of the original organizers of the Main Street program, said Chambers has been an integral part of Main Street from the beginning.
“Nobody loves Enid more than she does. Her dedication to Main Street and the community is well demonstrated with the successes Main Street has achieved in the last several years,” Smith said. “The next generation is coming along, stepping up to take their place in the leadership of the community. It’s the natural evolution of a program.
“I want to emphasize the appreciation those of us involved with Main Street have for Lindy and for the dedication she has given to Main Street and the Enid community,” Smith said.
Chambers said she will not retire from the community. She plans to keep busy and still attend many Main Street events.
“I like to keep busy,” she said.