Rockland Main Street has hired David Gogel as its new executive director, who will lead the organization into its second decade.
Gogel steps into the position that was held by Gordon Page, who will retire on January 31. The new executive director has served in senior level positions in business development, management consulting, and most recently with a leading advertising agency based in Portland, Maine.
“My wife and I decided to take our children on a road trip after reading an article about all the great things to explore while visiting Rockland,” Gogel said.
“During our trip, we fell in love with Rockland and specifically with downtown. It wasn’t long before we had purchased our new home only a few blocks away from all that Main Street has to offer. The community here in Rockland has been so welcoming to our family, so when the opportunity to get more involved with some of the many people that make this a special place presented itself, I couldn’t have been more excited.”
“Working for one of the leading tourism marketing agencies in the country has given me a front-row seat to the magic that can happen when you mix a unique sense of place, smart planning, and the people willing to put in the hard work,” he said. “I am thrilled to be in a position to put this knowledge to work for Rockland Main Street and our community.”
Rockland Main Street marked its 10th anniversary in 2019. It works with local businesses, residents, and property owners to create a spirit in downtown Rockland intended to benefit the community as a whole.
Perhaps its best-known activities are the annual Summer Solstice celebrations, the Festival of Lights holiday parade and related events that kick off after Thanksgiving each year, the annual Spring Hiring Fair put on for the benefit of area businesses and jobseekers alike, and the Lobster Trap Tree that lights up Mildred Merrill Park each December.
Beyond these higher-profile events, the organization focuses its attention on convening the downtown business community each month at Morning on Main listening sessions, providing discount cards to employees of downtown businesses, producing the Downtown Walking Map during the summer tourist season, promoting Rockland in Down East magazine each December, providing volunteers for city-appointed working committees, and finding other opportunities for furthering civic life in Rockland.
Rockland Main Street is funded by donations and event sponsorships, and has also been assisted by a yearly contribution, currently $30,000, authorized by city council. The City of Rockland has a permanent seat on the volunteer board of directors.
In addition, there are a number of volunteer committees which develop and handle individual projects throughout the year, including the new Frost Fest outdoor community cabin-fever reliever, which will be held with help from community volunteers at Harbor Park on Feb. 15. There is no charge to join in.
The city of Rockland is one of only 10 Maine communities fully accredited by the National Main Street program, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a non-profit movement that grew out of the belief that a community is only as strong as its core. Over the last four decades, the movement states, it has worked to show that downtowns are the heart of American communities.