Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Downtown group appears ready to hire

Downtown Amarillo Inc. could soon hire a full-time chief executive officer.

Board officials for the nonprofit organization created to push downtown revitalization said three finalists have been interviewed and a hire could soon be announced.

“We’re not going to have to wait much longer,” board member Gary Pitner said.

Jorgenson Consulting helped DAI identify 120 to 130 candidates to court, and about 30 submitted applications as a result, Pitner said.

"We have had some excellent prospects," board member Bill Gilliland said.

All three are from Texas, with at least one being from Amarillo, he said.

The Amarillo City Commission created DAI in July so that the organization could continue the work of a city-appointed committee that guided development of a strategic action plan for reviving downtown.

The commission budgeted $230,500 for the group in the 2008-2009 fiscal year and gave it several goals. Those benchmarks included establishing the organization as a nonprofit, hiring a full-time CEO to market downtown to potential project developers, and making several presentations about what tools the city and the Center City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone have available as incentives for downtown development.

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