Old Town Assn. showing progress following Chamber partnership

Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce President Christian Oliva del Rio and OTA Board President Brenda Clouston talk about the OTA’s progress. VVN/Kelcie Grega

Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce President Christian Oliva del Rio and OTA Board President Brenda Clouston talk about the OTA’s progress. VVN/Kelcie Grega

Last summer, the Old Town Association was still in rehabilitation stages following an embezzlement scandal.

Last Tuesday, Vice Mayor Kyla Allen said she was “very impressed” after a presentation by OTA Board President Brenda Clouston outlining the OTA’s current status and goals during a regular city council meeting.

“Wonderful job,” Allen said. “The difference is night and day as far as the professionalism and the details you all are taking care of when it comes to the Old Town Association.”

Clouston said OTA’s current board is willing to dedicate time to ensure all the work the OTA has done in the past does not cease.

“This has not been an easy task,” she said. “We’ve had to meet weekly since last summer for over two hours at a time for meeting to get the work done.”

Last May, former OTA treasurer Traci Koelzer fled the city after embezzling more than $100,000, according to Cottonwood police. Thousands had been taken from the Old Town Association bank account.

After the scandal, OTA was at risk of losing funding form the city but have since appointed Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce President Christian Oliva del Rio as their fiduciary agent.

“We set out a few months back to tackle this and I can honestly say I’m very proud,” he said. They’ve really stepped up. I really haven’t had to do a whole lot.”

Clouston also commended Oliva del Rio’s contributions.

“The partnership with the chamber gives us so much more opportunity,” she said.

On Dec. 1, the OTA will be putting on the 25th Annual Chocolate Walk where patrons can stroll through businesses in Old Town and try gourmet chocolates.

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