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Johnson hired as first EHK manager


Kristen Johnson

It has been announced that Kristen Johnson accepted the role of Main Street manager for Experience the Heart of Kendallville (EHK). She will begin her new role on January 10, 2023.


Johnson has served as Executive Director of the Kendallville Area Chamber of Commerce since June 2019. She has also served as president of the Board for EHK for the past two years and has been heavily involved in managing the day-to-day activities for EHK while in her role at the Chamber.


EHK has been growing and evolving over the past two years and the board felt it was time to hire a full-time manager to oversee the many projects that are ongoing, according to a press release.


“I have truly enjoyed my time at the Chamber and the many relationships I have developed with businesses and community members. I am also extremely excited to be moving into this new role with the city and look forward to the work ahead," said Johnson about the announcement.


EHK is an accredited Indiana Main Street organization. The group was recently awarded a $2M grant from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs for preservation work within the downtown over the next two years. One requirement of the grant is that the organization become nationally accredited. One of the criteria for national accreditation is having a full-time Main Street manager on staff.


Both the City of Kendallville and the Kendallville Redevelopment Commission provided funds to support

the new position. In addition, as part of the $2M PreservINg Main Street grant, EHK is required to raise $200,000 (a 10% grant match) over the next two years, half of which will be placed in the organization’s general fund for capacity building. The other half will be held in a non-permanent fund at the Community Foundation of Noble County.


Tara Streb, an EHK board member, led a committee through the hiring process to fill the position.


"Kristen brings years of experience working with the downtown and has been an integral part of the growth of our Main Street organization, Experience the Heart of Kendallville. Her knowledge of downtown

economic development, historic preservation and promotion, along with the relationships she's built

within the community are what I believe makes Kristen the perfect candidate for this position," Streb explained. "We are excited to have her in this key role as Kendallville's Main Street Manager,"


Mayor SuzAnne Handshoe added, "How excited we are to welcome the new Director. I know she has a passion for our Main Street and will serve us all well! I am anxious to see progression under her leadership!”