New Main Street Manager Brings Love for Community – The Times of Noblesville
By Betsy Raison
Living and working in downtown Noblesville gives Kate Baker a great sense of community.
The Noblesville native, born at Riverview Hospital and graduated from Noblesville High School in 1999, often enjoys the good life of Noblesville.
She moved four years ago to an 1850s cottage just two blocks from the historic Hamilton County Courthouse Square. She even opened the doors to her home for the Noblesville Preservation Alliance Historic Homes Tour in September, and a month earlier she donated her porch to the Noblesville Front Porch Music Festival on Logan Street.
She heads to the Square for events such as Noblesville Street Dance, Music and All That Jazz, Noblesville Main Street First Fridays, and the new Salsa on the Square in July.
Baker can now even walk to her Conner Street office as the new executive director of Noblesville Main Street, a position she started on October 1.
âAs I grew up in Noblesville, this move allowed me to become more involved in our downtown community,â said Baker.
Baker is quite proud of her hometown as well as what Main Street does for the community in partnership with downtown merchants. âThe Noblesville Main Street Farmers Market is the best Farmers Market I’ve been to,â she added.
Another favorite event was the first salsa in the square in July. âLast year was such a celebration of music, dance and culture on Logan Street. I looked around to see faces of pure joy during this event. I loved seeing people trying salsa for the first time alongside those who have done it all their lives, having such a wonderful time together, âshe said. “It’s Noblesville for me.”
After moving into her historic brick street house, she was quickly approached to join the Noblesville Main Street board of directors.
âI was thrilled because I really loved the work the organization did for historic downtown Noblesville,â she said. ââ¦ It was a joy to be a member of the board of directors of this organization that I have loved for so long. “
Then, when former Main Street General Manager Lorna (Steele) Oskouie reoriented her career path to follow a passion in real estate, her vacant position opened up possibilities for Baker. âFor me, I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to get even more involved in this organization that does so much to enrich the culture and community of downtown Noblesville,â she said.
Baker left a successful position at Conner Prairie to come to Main Street. While she was very happy with her role on the Conner Prairie development team as Senior Director of Advancement and Board Relations, she took the opportunity to âdig deepâ in Noblesville Main Street. âI realized that I had the opportunity to apply all the skills I had acquired in my various positions during my nearly 20 years in the workforce. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. It was a chance to give back to a city that I am very proud to be.
In Noblesville, Baker grew up singing and loving the theater. She participated in high school drama productions and sang with the NHS Singers and New Dimension choirs, and she also sang in the Noblesville First United Methodist Church Choir Choir with late ministry music from Mary Resler. She has also performed in a few theatrical productions at the Belfry Theater.
This is thanks to her involvement in the Up With People organization – she toured for a year (1999-2000) upon graduating from high school, performing in musical productions, spending six months in the United States and six months in Sweden, Austria, Germany, Spain and Portugal, Belgium and France – that Baker received a university scholarship to study music. She attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree, with voice as an instrument, in 2004 she traveled to the West Coast and Hollywood.
The day after graduation, she moved to Los Angeles, where she worked for Nederlander Promotions at the famous Greek theater, The Bridge Entertainment Group (which was singer / songwriter Tori Amos’ management team). Fuel TV (Fox) and HBO.
At HBO, she worked for almost eight years in the Media and Talent Relations team. Times readers may recall her memories of working with late “90210” star Luke Perry (Dylan McKay) who at the time portrayed a talent scout, director and agent in 10 episodes of the first show she worked on, âJohn From Cincinnati,â a TV series set against the surfing community of Imperial Beach, Calif., aired June through August 2007. Baker also worked on the âTrueâ series Blood “from HBO, for which she was involved in the launch and end of the seven-season series, and on” Real Time with Bill Maher “and” Game of Thrones. “
After working in Los Angeles for seven years, she moved to Noblesville in July 2014 to be closer to her family.
Daughter of Steve and Mary Baker, she then worked for her father and brother (Dan Baker) at Baker-Utility Partners in Arcadia and Hamilton-Boone Madison Co-Op Special Services & Mosaics program as a classroom teaching assistant of intense demeanor at Hamilton Heights Elementary before finding her most recent position at Conner Prairie, where she has remained for the past five and a half years.
Today, outside of her daytime career, she is Assistant Music Director for Noblesville First UMC, where she has been a member of the choir since the age of 14 and where she also performs in the Bell Choir and is involved in Sunshine Friends’ ministry for intellectual pursuits and developmental disabilities, “something I’ve been involved with since I was 4,” Baker said. “Sunshine Friends are an incredibly happy group that I love to be a part of.” She also gives piano lessons and officiates at weddings and loves to travel and keep up to date with the latest news in television and film.
What makes Baker smile? âThe kindness of others, my nieces and my nephew, the laughter, my dogs, the ocean. There are so many things that make me happy.
She is “an incredibly proud aunt, the best title I have ever had” and “a proud mom” to her two adorable huskies, Dakota and Dasher.
Since arriving at work 40 days ago, Baker has been at home in Noblesville Main Street, where she plans to stay. The community can find it at the Main Street offices at 839 Conner St., just above the Nickel Plate Arts NobleMade gift shop, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. She invites everyone to stop. âI love to hear what people like about Noblesville Main Street and, of course, what they would like to see from us in the future,â she said. Plus, she encouraged people to come downtown to see the stores turned into a holiday wonderland and to do their Christmas shopping earlier.
While she loves all the special events on Main Street, she said, “We are always looking to evolve, so don’t be surprised if you see new events popping up in the years to come.”
The relationship between the General Manager of Main Street and his board of directors is strong. âOur board of directors is incredibly practical and is crucial in running our events and partnerships in this city,â said Baker. âThis type of collaboration will continue and I am proud to lead the mission and vision of Noblesville Main Street.
Baker said, “I am extremely grateful for my new role with Noblesville Main Street and the opportunity to work with the city and all of the wonderful traders, businesses and organizations that make up our unparalleled downtown,” said Baker. âWhat a privilege it is to walk to work every day to interact with my friends and neighbors to promote the city I love with all my heart. “
-Contact Betsy Reason at [email protected]
Want to go?
What: Noblesville Main Street Small Business Saturday has been extended through November 26-27 in downtown Noblesville, with everyone being encouraged to âgo small shoppingâ throughout the weekend.
What Else: Deck the Downtown during Main Street First Friday in December, 5:00 p.m. to midnight on December 3, with downtown merchants open late, coordinated with Lights Over Seminary, Federal Hill Ice Plaza, visit with Santa Claus on the square and judgment of the window decoration.
Meet the New Director: Stop and see Noblesville Main Street Executive Director Kate Baker 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at Main Street, 839 Conner St., across from the courthouse in downtown Noblesville .