The Discover Downtown Middlesboro Board of Directors has appointed Isaac D. Kremer as the agency’s new executive director.
“We are happy to welcome Isaac to Middlesboro and to our organization,” said Keith Nagle, DDM president. “Isaac brings both unique skills and experience in economic development and historic preservation that will enhance DDM’s efforts in our community.”
Kremer is a nationally recognized expert in the Main Street Approach® to commercial district revitalization. This approach is comprehensive and incremental, emphasizing grassroots action in four areas — organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring.
His education and training includes a master’s degree in historic preservation planning from Cornell University, and a bachelor’s of arts in economics and management from Albion College in Albion, Mich.
Kremer has additional training in historic preservation tax credits and received the “How to Turn a Place Around” training from the Project for Public Spaces.
While executive director of the Oyster Bay Main Street Association on Long Island between 2008 and 2012, Kremer helped to generate more than $10 million of new investment in Theodore Roosevelt’s home town. This resulted in more than a dozen building renovation projects. Most notable was the $2.5 million restoration of the 1854 Octagon Hotel where Roosevelt campaigned for governor.
Over 30 businesses were opened during his tenure. These businesses had an impressive 90 percent retention rate.
“Key to our success was following the Main Street Approach® rooted in historic preservation,” Kremer said.
“There is no town of any size that has experienced meaningful revitalization without including historic preservation as part of a comprehensive strategy,” he continued.
Promotional events were another area where Oyster Bay excelled. During his tenure, Kremer worked with dozens of volunteers to establish the Oyster Bay Farmer’s Market, the Sundown Concert Series, the Oyster Flix Film series, a popular Dancing in the Streets event and numerous other activities that helped attract visitors to the downtown area.
“Once people saw something was happening downtown, they were more inclined to visit and tell their friends to visit too,” Kremer said of these activities. “In turn, this encouraged a number of businesses that decided to open downtown.”
Kremer oversaw an innovative planning exercise in 2010 called Build a Better Block. Over a two-day weekend one of the most neglected blocks in Oyster Bay was transformed with pop-up stores in previously vacant buildings, a pop-up park and a pilot Farmer’s Market. Billy Joel participated in the two-day event and afterward decided to open his 20th Century Cycles in one of the pop-up stores. This motorcycle showroom has since become a regional attraction.
Most recently, Kremer worked with the Heritage Society of Austin. In that capacity he updated their over 40-year-old Preservation Awards program. He supported the preservation, advocacy, and education committees in their efforts. Kremer also publicly advocated for preservation of numerous historic places in Austin.
Speaking of his priorities and objectives as executive director, Kremer said, “I am excited to build on the firm foundation that has already been established here in Middlesboro. In the coming years, I look forward to overseeing an exciting period of new growth in what is one of the most unique and history-laden small towns in America.”