Economic Development, Human Resources, and Travel & Tourism

Downtown Alliance says adieu to staff

September 9, 2013
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Downtown Alliance executive director departs
Sharon Evoy.

The Downtown Alliance will pay tribute to two longtime downtown advocates on Monday night — and then bid both a fond farewell.

The alliance will honor its Executive Director Sharon Evoy and its Marketing Coordinator Nicole Weichelt for their efforts on the board’s behalf at an invitation-only event tonight at The Ballroom at CityFlatsHotel in downtown Grand Rapids.

Evoy has directed the organization since its inception a dozen years ago.

Weichelt has been with the alliance for six years.

“Sharon helped build the strong foundation that now supports the remarkable growth in our neighborhood and downtown business districts. Under her leadership, Grand Rapids has become a more attractive, more exciting and more prosperous mid-sized American city,” said Downtown Alliance Chairman Bob Partridge.

Phased-out Downtown Alliance

The alliance will be phased out this fall, as the new Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. begins to play a more prominent role in the district.

DGRI consists of the Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Improvement District and the city’s Office of Special Events.

Many of the alliance’s current board members are expected to move to the governing body of a larger DID.

Grand Rapids city commissioners will hold a public hearing on whether to expand the DID’s board of directors later this month.

Place making

Evoy recently told the Business Journal that what she will remember the most about her time at the alliance is the dramatic increase in the number of people that come downtown now in comparison to when she took the alliance position in 2001.

“This is a very different downtown than it was 12 years ago,” Evoy said. “We’ve worked to create a place where people want to be — whether they want to visit, meet friends, live or invest here. If West Michigan feels comfortable in downtown Grand Rapids and is proud of it, we’ve done our job.”

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