Liz Parham, Exec. Dir. of CH Downtown Partnership resigns

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership Board of Directors announced today that Liz Parham, executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, has resigned from her position effective July 18, 2008. Ms. Parham will assume the role of director of the Office of Urban Development for the Division of Community Assistance in the North Carolina Department of Commerce on July 21st.

Ms. Parham has served as the first director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership since July 2005. She took the position with the Downtown Partnership after serving nearly twelve years as the executive director of Uptown Lexington, Inc. in Lexington, North Carolina. She has worked in the field of downtown development for more than twenty-one years.

During her tenure with Chapel Hill, Ms. Parham worked with the board of directors to develop programming for Chapel Hill’s top five downtown areas of concern: parking, panhandling, homelessness, safety and cleanliness. Two of the most well known programs are the valet parking, created in conjunction with west end restaurateurs and merchants, and the Real Change from Spare Change program that the Downtown Partnership launched in November 2007 as a means of redirecting giving to people on the street.

“Downtown economic development is not just about filling vacancies. It is about creating an environment that will support businesses that are serving the needs of the community. Downtown Chapel Hill has tremendous opportunity to grow as a community-wide life-long learning center and as a vibrant arts and cultural destination in an entertainment based economy. That is the vision that the Downtown Partnership is leading the downtown to achieve,” noted Parham.

“The role of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership is to manage and to lead downtown development for Chapel Hill. The board of directors will be meeting this week to develop a plan to find a replacement for Ms. Parham. We will be looking for a director who has experience in downtown development,” said George Draper, chair of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership.

In her new position, she will be overseeing the North Carolina Main Street program and the Small Town Main Street program as well as developing new initiatives for urban areas like Chapel Hill that are concerned about redeveloping their downtown districts.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to work throughout the entire state helping communities of all sizes reach their full economic potential. Many of our communities have experienced dramatic economic shifts over the past decade as much of our traditional industrial base had shifted overseas. The Division of Community Assistance is engaged in technical assistance and financial assistance designed to rebuild our state’s economy, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to work on this level,” said Parham.

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