February 7, 2013 9:32:29 AM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
Main Street Columbus has a familiar face as its new director.
Barbara Bigelow, who already serves on the organization's board of directors, will begin her new duties as director on Feb. 25. Announced via press release Wednesday afternoon, the decision comes less than a week after former director Nickie Nicholson was fired.
Bigelow currently serves as the director of community relations for the Frank P. Phillips YMCA. She is also a member of Lowndes County Foundation and the Exchange Club.
Bigelow first interviewed for the position in November after former director Amber Brislin announced her resignation. After Nicholson's termination on Jan. 31, the board decided not to reopen the interview process and hire Bigelow.
Bigelow and her husband, Chuck, moved to Columbus 13 years ago to open the Columbus Marina. The couple are active in various organizations throughout the area and have eagerly made Columbus their home.
Bigelow said that her love of Columbus is largely due to the warmth of Columbus natives who have embraced her and made her feel a part of the community.
"You never know when you come to a new city how the local people will accept you," she said. "But it was easy to fall in love with Columbus because people were so nice. It's called the Friendly City and that's exactly how we felt. People are so warm and kind. We never felt that we were 'outsiders' ever. From Day One, we felt like we were part of the community."
While she does not start until the 25th, Bigelow said she is already making plans for the upcoming Market Street Festival.
"It is an honor for me to accept this position and I am eager to work with the Main Street board, merchants and all of the many, many volunteers who help to make our Main Street one of the best in the nation," Bigelow said. "I have enjoyed and been a part of our downtown area since arriving in Columbus ... I look forward to the challenge and opportunity to continue to move Main Street Columbus forward. I will hit the ground running on the 25th, with plans for the Market Street Festival and Farmer's Market already underway."
Board member Susan MacKay said she was excited about Bigelow's hiring and the positive energy she will bring to the position.
"I am thrilled with the decision to hire Barbabra as the director of Main Street Columbus," McKay said. "Barbara has a lot of enthusiasm and she's worked with Main Street for a long time and has a good understanding of all the aspects of Main Street. I feel like she will be an asset to the organization and work hard in all areas."
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.