Are you a Coast Explorer? Subscribe to Coast Explorer now and don't miss another issue featuring our beautiful photography and design, interesting feature stories and guides to coastal attractions, events, dining, shopping, arts and lodging.
Annual subscriptions (3 issues) now only $15.
photo by Gary Hayes There's a reason that Seaside has such a beautiful and vibrant downtown. Since 1993, the Seaside Downtown Development Association (SDDA) has been working hard to make it so. Comprised of business people, local property owners, public officials and interested citizens, and funded by member dues and a portion of the city business tax revenue, the SDDA's mission is to beautify and enhance the economic viability of downtown Seaside. And, do they ever! Each year, the SDDA supports, plans and/or orchestrates a variety of projects to stimulate downtown business, such as the Muscle Beach Cruz and Wheels & Waves car shows, the downtown wine walks and the winter coupon book, created to stimulate local shopping through the winter months. In addition, the SDDA works throughout the year to make downtown Seaside a beautiful place to shop, no matter the season or time of day. In spring and summer, dozens of huge flower baskets adorn the city pumping up the color a few notches to the delight of shoppers and business owners alike. The group also organizes the ongoing Stars of Seaside downtown lighting project. Originally started as seasonal decorations, the lighted starfish that brighten up the city's night streets are now, by popular demand, a permanent fixture. The SDDA purchases and maintains the stars on Broadway (and other city streets) with the proceeds from some of their projects. Accomplishing all of this requires a highly organized operating system and lots of involved dedication. Executive Director Laurie Oxley feels the success of the organization is due in part to the well-organized structure of the non-profit group and its regular meetings. These weekly meetings take place downtown (where else?) at the Seaside Pig N' Pancake and offer community members a forum in which to voice concerns, network with other involved individuals and businesses, make announcements and learn from a wide variety of guest speakers. But, more than anything, it's the people involved who make the SDDA so successful. "We have nearly 150 members," said Oxley, "and we have tremendous participation in all of our events. We really couldn't do it without so many people working together toward our common goal." In Seaside, the stars shine more than just at night.