New Yorktown civic leader wants to bring pride back
Jan. 14, 2014 at 5:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 13, 2014 at 7:14 p.m.
YORKTOWN - Tammy Bitterly wants to help Yorktown feel good about itself.
"I want to make Yorktown proud again," said Bitterly, the town's new chamber of commerce, economic development corporation and Western Days Association executive director.
Bitterly thinks a big first step was taken with last fall's return of Western Days to the hometown festival - and not a Ziegfest music festival - that it had been most of its 50-plus years of existence.
"I think we regained a lot of respect from the local citizens with the return of Western Days to its original format," Bitterly said.
"The cookers are back in the park, the music is still great, and everyone had a good time."
Western Days was designated as a Ziegfest with the accompanying corporate sponsorships from 2009-12.
Bitterly took on the duties of facilitating Western Days in August and in December added being chamber of commerce and economic development corporation executive directors to her workload.
Ranging reporter Sonny Long visited with Bitterly in her office Monday.
So returning Western Days to its original format was well received?
Oh, yes. I've had many more positive comments than negative. People are excited it's back to its roots. I'd been coming myself for more than 30 years. We've gotten approval for this year, too, and I'm excited. I'm working now on the entertainment lineup.
In my experience, it's unusual for one person to wear three hats (executive director of Western Days Association, chamber of commerce and economic development corporation) like in Yorktown. Why does that work here?
Because we're small. And it worked in the past with Melissa Armstrong (who died in 2012) doing all three. I realize I have a lot to learn, especially with economic development. I am signed up to take some training courses to help me with that.
What are some of the priorities you'd like to accomplish?
Chamber membership is one for sure. Being a member of the chamber really shows an interest in the community. Having a full-time director in place has already made a difference. We have our chamber banquet coming up on March 6 and our second annual fundraising golf tournament in April. And Majestic Lights in the city park is a big hit and growing, too. And, of course, the Western Days Association is looking for new members, too.
What are your interests away from the job?
I make cakes. Cakes are a hobby of mine. I love salvage, too. I came to Yorktown to shop regularly at the resale shops to find that treasure. I like taking old things and making them into something useful or better - improving them. I guess that's where I'm at here, too - trying to improve Yorktown. Bring it back. Liven it up.