One thing is for certain: There will never be another Bryan Crough.
When the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority’s (DDA) first and only executive director died suddenly in June after 22 years as its leader, he left a large hole in the organization, and in the community as a whole.
In the three months since, the DDA’s deputy director Rob Bacigalupi has been appointed acting executive director and he and staff have picked up the pieces best they could. But with that interim step taken, now the DDA board is tackling the organization’s long-term staffing needs.
“Is there another Bryan Crough? The answer is probably not,” says DDA board chair Steve Constantin, of feelings expressed by the board and staff.
Knowing that, last month Constantin proposed a subcommittee be established to examine the organization’s staffing going forward. It met for the first time yesterday and will report back to the board at this Friday’s regular monthly meeting.
That report will include the subcommittee’s next step, says Constantin – meeting with area stakeholders in downtown TC’s future, including the Brownfield Development Authority, the Traverse City Chamber, City staff, Rotary Charities and others – to get their input. With that, Constantin says the subcommittee plans to come back to the board with a recommendation for DDA staffing by the end of the year.
Chairing the staffing committee is Chuck Judson, who was involved in the hiring of Crough back in 1991, and fellow board members Leah Bagdon-McCallum, Bill Golden and Constantin, along with new City Manager Jered Ottenwess.
In the meantime, the DDA is turning to temporary consulting help for assistance, something new for the organization.
“There is more work than can currently be handled,” says Bacigalupi. “We have a lot of projects, both private and public, in various stages of progress.”
As such, last week the DDA inked a contract for $3,680 with Otwell Mawby, a consulting engineering company in Traverse City, for the current Garland Street project – looking at street design and connectivity improvements along with the development of Hotel Indigo in the Warehouse District.
“We need to get that moving along,” says Bacigalupi.
The board will also explore hiring temporary help to “move some public art issues along,” he adds.“From time to time we get requests for placement of art in the public realm and we have no process or way to manage that. We need a process put in place.”
The Downtown Development Authority board of directors meets at 8 a.m. this Friday (Sept. 20) in the Governmental Center’s City Commission chambers.