The Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism announced the new director for the MainStreet program in their newsletter email this week.

Shirley Schultz is hired to become the MainStreet director, effective April 10. In the announcement, Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism president Brad Meier stated, "Schultz is passionate about the success of downtown Owatonna and has a desire to make it even better." Schultz has volunteered with the MainStreet program since 2013, according to the newsletter and has been active with the chamber for many years.

On the MainStreet website, the goal of the program is to "ensure the long term viability of downtown Owatonna through strengthened public and private activities and participation."

In related news, the flower basket program will start soon. The effort this year is to purchase 100 baskets. In order to provide watering services, general maintenance and buy the baskets the cost is about $100 per basket. MainStreet is looking to raise $10,000 for the privately funded program in 2017. Find out how to sponsor a basket through the MainStreet website.

The deadline is approaching for the Restaurant Challenge, promoted by the Owatonna Chamber. Business owners considering a new restaurant or a significant change in their current eatery are eligible to apply. Incentives amount to $30,000. The deadline to enter is April 7.