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Amherst BID hires interim chief

Sarah la Cour

Sarah la Cour

Sarah la Cour started in the 20-hour per week position Monday, said Barry Roberts, president of the BID’s board of directors.

“She has been hired to facilitate some of the ongoing projects on an interim basis,” Roberts said.

La Cour said she approached representatives of the BID about what she could offer over the next six months.

“I’ve always been interested in the BID, what it does for the community and what it can do to improve economic development,” la Cour said.

Last month, the BID announced that executive director Alex Krogh-Grabbe would be leaving his post by July 1.

The idea of hiring la Cour, Roberts said, is that she will help the BID’s subcommittees. For instance, the marketing committee, led by David Mazor, needs assistance in planning the second Celebrate Amherst Block Party that will take place in September.

She will also be responsible for other ongoing endeavors, such as coordinating drivers for the trolleys, which will again be used at the monthly Amherst ArtWalk.

La Cour said she will help ensure scheduled events go on as planned and with day-to-day operations.

La Cour is a visiting lecturer in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts and a partner in Conservation Works LLC. Previously, she served as landscape designer at the former Dodson Associates in Ashfield, landscape curator at Chesterwood in Stockbridge and director of conservation and planning at W.D. Cowls in North Amherst. La Cour, an elected member of Amherst Town Meeting, lives on North Whitney Street.

Roberts said the hiring of la Cour is not a replacement for Krogh-Grabbe.

The executive committee, he said, is considering a range of options before deciding whether to advertise for a new executive director.

La Cour’s hiring gives the committee time to determine how to proceed.

The Amherst BID was formed by the Select Board in November 2011 and operates on a $400,000 yearly budget from biannual contributions in the form of assessments to downtown properties.

The BID is supposed to supplement existing town services and add to the vibrancy of the commercial areas.

Financial and in-kind assistance also comes from the town, the University of Massachusetts and Amherst College.

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