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January 9, 2020 - Downtown with David Dindak: MHDA strives to improve downtown viability

Wow! What a transformation this once little train stop in the middle of nowhere has seen — even in the past 30 years.  When I moved to Morgan Hill during the late ’80s there wasn’t a stop sign between Holiday Lake Estates and Cindy’s Restaurant, where now sits the Jack-In-The-Box on Condit.  We even had a K-Mart in the shopping center where Home Depot is. The population was a little more than 20,000. Now we are about 45,000.

Back then there were only a few retailers and a hand-full of restaurants downtown. Old-timers might remember Ida’s where Rosy’s is now. Or how about Jack’s Steakhouse where Sinaloa is? The old Sinaloa was in the Madrone area at the north end of town.  When they were full you just drove down the street to El Capri at Cochrane. Just Breakfast was a Sunday-after-church kind-of-place, and there was a Japanese restaurant just upstairs for years. The “Tav” was, well, where it has been the past 80-85 years.

Currently, downtown boasts more than 30 restaurants/eateries and several boutiques, retailers and other businesses. Serving the immediate downtown businesses, the Morgan Hill Downtown Association was founded in 2002. It is a group of Morgan Hill residents and small-business owners. Over time, this ever-evolving group of volunteers has formed the foundation and fabric helping to create a vibrant downtown that now attracts other businesses spawning new growth. We also are a collective voice to the ear of City Council and its initiatives.

The MHDA is proud to host some great events. We work with your downtown businesses to promote and execute the annual Wine Stroll in the Spring and Brew Crawl in the Fall.  These are opportunities for you and out-of-town visitors to taste local wines, as well as beer/cider they may not find elsewhere.  Downtown restaurants, shops and other businesses team up with local wineries during the Stroll, and micro-breweries during the Crawl.  When their doors open we provide tastings to about 1,200 visitors from all over the Bay Are for each.

I don’t know how many people show up for the Halloween Safe Trick Or Treat we sponsor, but they come in droves to enjoy a well thought-out event. Last year 51 businesses dressed up and shared treats with the many participants, young and old.

We have hosted smaller events as well, like Ladies Night Out and Progressive Dinners where participants visit four different downtown eateries throughout an evening. Revenue generated is used to support various endeavors in town. Who doesn’t enjoy the festive tree lights along Monterey from Dunne to Main avenues? The annual cost of operation is quite costly so the MHDA’s largest financial commitment is helping to “keep the lights on.”

We are always looking for new board members, volunteers to help at the events and new event ideas. Please reach out if interested or have questions about how you can pitch in.

We can be reached at or visit

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