Downieville, Calif. September 17, 2020 – You might remember the phrase from 1968, “You’ve come a long way, baby”. This phrase could also apply to the Downieville Improvement Group. Here is a little history that explains why. In 2008, an informal group of community-minded businesspeople and residents formed the Downieville Community Association after the Downieville Chamber of Commerce had disbanded several years earlier.
The DCA met each month and passed around a jar for donations at each meeting. The group’s focus was advertising local events, parking issues and the Gold Rush Days event. The DCA continued to meet, but it was difficult to sponsor events, since there was no guaranteed income to fund the events. Flash forward to 2012, when the group was resurrected and became the Downieville Improvement Group. The meetings became more organized and officers were elected. The group liked the “DIG” acronym, and had a good membership. There was lots of enthusiasm and “work together” spirit for the upcoming summer seasons.
DIG organized the first Downieville Mountain Brewfest in 2015 and the event became one of the largest community fund-raisers in the entire county! DIG advanced to become a recognized non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization and continues to sponsor the Brewfest each year. Unfortunately, the 2020 Brewfest was cancelled due to the Coronavirus, as well as every other event this summer, but we’re looking at 2021.
Aside from the Brewfest, the Downieville Improvement Group has sponsored and funded many other Downieville projects. Some of these include: sponsoring the contest to rename Lions Park; creating the free brochures for Downieville events and business directory; funding the Downieville Walking Tour Maps reprint; sponsoring the Burning Tree Event – to burn Christmas trees in January; hosting a community BBQ; purchasing the Welcome Banners all over town; working with Sierra County to build the Event Sign in Gold Rush Park; paying for the gazebo in Gold Rush Park; paying for the 2020 Senior Graduates banners; and organizing the annual Spring Clean-Up Day in Downieville. DIG assisted Kaylon Hall’s senior project, Bright Bridge, and helped coordinate the lighting of Durgan bridge, aka Courthouse Bridge. Most recently, DIG members have rebuilt the Christmas Star on Durgan Bridge and made it more efficient with solar lights. DIG has also been working with Sierra County since 2017 on repairing, painting and remodeling the Downieville Community Hall. This project is getting very close to becoming a reality and we are excited to be a part of it!
DIG would like to invite enthusiastic, community-minded folks to join our meetings! Officers are: Cherry Simi, President, Mike Galan, Vice President, Karen Galan, Secretary and Mike Taylor, Treasurer. Currently, we are meeting via Zoom, but normally, DIG meetings include a no-host social pre-meeting at 5:30pm and the meetings begin at 6:00pm. We hope to resume that enjoyable format in the near future. Contact any officer or member if you would like to join in and we will forward you the Zoom link. We would love to have you join us!
DIG is an all-volunteer organization and does not receive any funding from Sierra County or other government sources. All our projects are funded by profits from event sponsorship and proceeds. So, from passing the cup around at meetings, DIG has become a self-sufficient community organization. “We’ve come a long way, baby” and are looking forward to doing more great things in the future!