DDD Elects New Leadership Team

The Douglas Design District Board of Directors has elected their new leadership team for 2019. Stacy Ward Lattin of Hopping Gnome Brewing Company will step up as the Board President, with Steven Suellentrop from Legacy Bank as Vice President. Staryln Tayrien from Jimmy’s Egg/Hartman Companies will serve as the Board Secretary/Treasurer. Janelle King will continue to serve on the leadership team as Past President.

We’re very excited to usher in this new leadership team, as they each bring a very special set of skills and passion to the work of the Douglas Design District. The DDD Board of Directors is composed of 10 members, including the leadership team. There are current Board openings; any DDD members that might be interested in sitting on the Board can contact Renee Duxler, Executive Director, at renee@dddwichita.com.

Guest Blog: Supporting a 'Culture of Yes' and the future of the DDD

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Note: The following is a guest post submitted by Ken Stoppel, owner of Building Controls & Services, located in the District. Ken is a former Board Member with the DDD, as well as a current Executive Committee Member and has been placed on the Business Improvement District Planning Committee.

As a lifelong Wichitan, I am pleased to support the efforts of the Douglas Design District to better their district and my hometown – the city I love.  

The DDD is a tireless advocate for community betterment. From adding over 40+ public murals to the District over the last four years, to the innovation of a colorful painted streetscape on Douglas,  to encouraging local shopping with the Artisan Market and 2ndSaturday collaborations—the DDD is committed to creating a vibrant neighborhood while also encouraging local commerce and growth.   

 They also have initiated difficult but necessary conversations about our current infrastructure on Douglas, and they continue to dare to ask ‘what if?’ These conversations seek to understand what would make Douglas Avenue more walkable, and lead to more local businesses and residents choosing to locate in this vibrant area. Studies show that young people choose where to live based on the quality of experiences a city offers.  We have to offer better experiences in our city – and a progressive and forward-thinking long-term capital investment will deliver one.

The DDD is also exploring the possibility of creating a Business Improvement District within its project area as well.  City Council appointed a District Planning Committee to explore the concept further. The details – budget, scope of services, value proposition, any assessments – will be developed in the coming months then shared with community stakeholders.  

It has been mistakenly communicated that this proposal would be a tax—it is not.  It’s the possible creation of a funding model where area businesses contribute toward the betterment of the District – just like you see with a homeowner’s association assessment in residential areas, or a Common Area Maintenance charge in retail areas.  If implemented, stakeholders in the area – i.e., businesses paying the assessment – get to decide how the money is spent – not City Hall.  A BID would engage more businesses in decision-making that affects the District.  Self-governance by stakeholders is a fundamental principle in the 1,000+ BIDs around the country.

The DDD is currently a member-based organization that collects voluntary membership dues.  There has been no staff – only a group of doers invested in their community.  But they get things done – and recently did the legwork needed to increase investments and funding into the District that allowed for hiring a full-time Executive Director. The potential moving forward with Renee Duxler as the Executive Director at the helm is truly inspiring.   

James Chung identified a “culture of no” mindset in our city that has held us back way too long. Let’s keep building, trying new things and proving our naysayers wrong.  I support a “culture of yes” and believe in the exciting future of the Douglas Design District.  

Douglas Design District Hires First Executive Director

The Douglas Design District is pleased to announce that we have hired Renee Duxler as our Executive Director for our non-profit civic organization. Duxler will run day-to-day operations for the District, and is also charged with increasing community engagement, attracting new business and industry, and advancing exploration into a possible application as a Business Improvement District. The Douglas Design District has never had an Executive Director since it’s inception in 2007; the DDD has been run by an all-volunteer Board, as well as contract workers from time to time.  

“It’s a pretty big step for us, but quite frankly long overdue,” Bill Jackson, founder of the District, and CEO of Transitions Group, said, “We have grown exponentially over the last five years and it was time to invest in this position.  We’re all very excited about what this means for our members, as well as our community as a whole.”

Duxler has been a Board member with the Douglas Design District over the last several years, but resigned her position in November when she closed her business, Aerial, within the District.   Duxler has previous experience as an administrator for non-profit organizations, and also helped co-chair the 2020 Vision campaign for the District that secured over $25,000 in investments, as well as a two-year $84,500 grant from the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation.  As a small business owner and former social worker, Duxler has a unique skill set that she believes will serve the District well.

“Our overall mission is to create a commercial district where local businesses can thrive, and contribute to the development and prosperity of our local economy,” Duxler said, “Peripherally however, that means we’re focused on community engagement and ownership, multi-modal transportation options, creative partnerships, and beautification efforts that are crucial to fulfilling that mission. I’m beyond ecstatic to be chosen to continue to lead these efforts.”

The Douglas Design District is a non-profit civic organization and neighborhood, with over 300 locally owned businesses, including 100 member businesses, who are dedicated to pursuing and promoting our ‘corridor of creativity.’  Founded in authenticity and steeped in old-time tradition, the Douglas Design District is full to the brim with electricity. Shop, Live, and Dine… By Design.  



Turning Pride Into Action: Individuals or organizations are encouraged to make a public commitment to take a specific action designed to help Wichita overcome challenges related to negative perceptions, economic stagnation, growing and retaining talent or fueling entrepreneurial activity. Those who pledge online at www.blackoutict.com or in-person at The Workroom will receive a black Wichita flag to fly or a lapel pin to wear during the month of October to raise awareness and encourage others to make their own pledges.