Kate Baker was born and raised in Noblesville. She calls the Noblesville community her rock. So, it seems fitting the 41-year-old resident is the new executive director for Noblesville Main Street.
According to its website, Noblesville Main Street is a nonprofit working to enrich the culture and community of the city’s downtown historic district by creating partnerships and programs to connect people to unique places and experiences.
Baker began her position Oct. 4. She follows Lorna Steele, who resigned from the position to pursue a career as a Realtor.
Baker has had quite the journey to return to her hometown. After graduating from Noblesville High School in 1999, traveling internationally, attending Berklee College of Music in Boston and spending time on the west coast, Baker returned to Noblesville in 2014. She lives in a historic house on Logan Street built in 1845.
“I love the work that Main Street does,” Baker said. “I’ve always loved the farmers market, and I love how exciting they make Small Business Saturday and the connection they have in lifting up the merchants and making sure the people know the charm and everything that downtown Noblesville offers.”
Noblesville Main Street board member Aaron Smith said the organization plays into the city’s success.
“Noblesville is one of the strongest county seats in the state. Our downtown core is active, nearly all of our storefronts are occupied and we have a growing number of people actively taking steps to call downtown home. Much of that success, I believe, is due in part to organizations like Noblesville Main Street,” said Smith, who also is a council member on the Noblesville Common Council. “Kate’s new leadership role certainly bodes well for downtown, too. She has high expectations for Main Street, and a plan to get us there, which is an exciting combination for downtown Noblesville.“
Baker said her favorite Noblesville Main Street event is the farmers market, a staple that returns to the community each year and runs May through mid-October.
“The farmers market is hands’ down one of the greatest farmers markets I’ve ever been to, and I’ve lived in a lot of cities,” Baker said. “Ours is one of the best. Being a downtown resident, I knew all the great things Main Street does to create this culture and sense of community, and it’s just a beautiful organization.”
Some of her other favorite events are the Noblesville Street Dance and Music and All That Jazz, a monthly free outdoor music performance that occurs on the courthouse square.
“I think especially being a downtown resident, my favorite thing is to watch people parking their cars and bringing their own chairs and heading to the square for a night of music,” Baker said.
Baker has a strong history with music. She sang at Berklee College of Music in Boston and majored in music business management.
“When I graduated in 2004 that was a really interesting time in the music industry,” Baker said. “Napster and LimeWire and all those were popping at that time, so record labels hadn’t figured out streaming rights. The music industry was in a little bit of a quandary at that time.”
Baker then shifted to the television industry and worked in marketing and on-air promotions with Fuel TV for two years. Then, she worked at HBO for eight years while living in Los Angeles.
Baker returned to Noblesville in 2014. Most of her family still lives in Noblesville. She joined Conner Prairie in 2016 as a development assistant and worked her way up to senior management of advancement and board relationships.
Now, Baker also works part time as the assistant music director for Noblesville First United Methodist Church, a position she’s held since 2016. She also teaches piano lessons.
Baker said although she currently doesn’t have plans to create new events for Noblesville Main Street, she does hope to expand some of the existing ones.
“Salsa on the Square was a new event this year, and I loved it,” she said. “I’d like to do it again next year. I think it’s really important to have events like that that highlight cultures that represent every type of person who lives in Noblesville. I’d like to see some more cultural events.”
Most of all, Baker is excited about the potential that comes with the position. However, with that potential also comes challenges.
“Right now, Noblesville is expanding,” she said. “We’ve got hundreds of more people that are going to be living downtown within the next couple years. It’s an exciting challenge, but I think it’s going to be a challenge to make sure we are keeping up with a community that is growing at a high rate.”
For more, visit noblesvillemainstreet.org.
Meet Kate Baker
Family: Baker said she is a proud aunt with five nieces and nephews. Three of her nieces live in Noblesville and a niece and a nephew live in Zionsville.
Pets: Two huskies, Dakota and Dasher
Favorite downtown merchants: Kiln Creations, Linden Tree, Lil Bloomers Children’s Boutique, Noble Coffee and Tea and Primeval Brewing.
Hobbies: Music and traveling