AUGUSTA — Augusta Downtown Alliance is looking for someone whose full-time job will be to stay up on downtown.

The organization is advertising for an executive director who will serve as downtown manager, responsible for revitalizing, maintaining, and bringing new commercial and community life to the downtown.

“This is not a sit behind the desk kind of job,” Larry Fleury, president of the nonprofit organization, said of the new position. “This person will need to be in touch with the merchants on a daily basis, be out on the street and get the pulse of the community. Figure out the needs of downtown and make it happen.”

Applications for the position, which is expected to pay between $36,000 and $41,000 a year, are due by Aug. 23 and Fleury said they plan to have someone hired by Oct. 1.

The position, and the rest of the program’s just over $70,000 annual budget, will be paid for in a partnership of, roughly, thirds.

The city has agreed to contribute $20,000 in tax increment financing revenues toward the cost of hiring a downtown manager. The rest of the cost is expected to come from the association and downtown merchants, other businesses, and community members. Fleury said participants in funding the program commit to annual funding contributions for the next three years.

He said the three-year commitment is meant to help ensure the program’s initiatives will be successful.

The position’s job description notes the new executive director will be responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the association, supervise volunteers, implement and coordinate programs and activities, work with the organization’s board of directors, serve as the liaison with the city and other entities, and frequently communicate with downtown business and property owners.

Roxanne Elfin, senior program director for the Maine Downtown Center, said Augusta hiring its first executive director and downtown manager is an exciting step for both the downtown alliance and the entire community. Hiring a professional, full-time manager is required for all communities designated as national Main Street communities. Main Street communities follow a national model of steps designed to help revitalize historic downtowns. Such communities also receive free training and other assistance from the state and national parent organization.

Augusta was officially designated as a Main Street community by the Maine Downtown Center May 31, at the Maine Downtown Conference. It joined 10 other designated downtowns in Maine, including Gardiner and Waterville.

“The Maine Downtown Center welcomes this opportunity to work with the (Augusta Downtown Alliance) in seeking and hiring the right person for the position, and will be providing substantial training tools and resources to Maine’s newest Main Street community,” Elfin said.

Augusta Downtown Association and its events such as the recent AugustaFest are run by volunteers. Fleury said a few volunteers have been putting as much as 40 hours a week into the organization, which is hard for them to do since most of them have regular jobs, and lives, outside of the association. The new director will take over coordination of day to day operations and special events, though the association will still need many volunteers to serve on committees, organize events, and help revitalize the downtown.

“We need somebody who can be integrated into everything happening, all the time,” Fleury said. “So many opportunities are missed downtown, because there is nobody there to pull all the pieces together.”

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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