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Krogh-Grabbe departing Amherst Business Improvement District

  • Alex Krogh-Grabbe<br/><br/>GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
  • Nancy Sykes, an Easthampton mayoral candidate,  at her home in Easthampton.

Krogh-Grabbe said Tuesday that he will depart July 1, a decision made by the BID’s executive committee.

Barry Roberts, president of the Amherst BID board, said Krogh-Grabbe brought enthusiasm, creative ideas and passion to the job he started last June. But in the second year, Roberts said, the executive committee was looking for someone with more experience.

“We think the organization takes a different type of manager now that it’s established,” Roberts said.

“The BID is entering into the next phase of development, including the ongoing management and expansion of programs and services to members, continued development of working partnerships and a renewal vote of members,” Roberts added.

Krogh-Grabbe, 27, said he got the ball rolling on many big projects and is parting on good terms.

“We’ve done a lot in a year. I’m proud to have accomplished so much,” Krogh-Grabbe said.

He pointed to his first major events, the Celebrate Amherst Block Party in September, that brought an estimated 5,000 people to downtown; Play Out Amherst, in which musicians are encouraged to perform on the streets; and the forthcoming return of Hot Summer Nights that will feature movies and music.

Welcome to Amherst signs are slated to be up by fall, flowers will soon be placed on lampposts and the downtown trolley that runs during events, such as Amherst ArtWalk, will make regular loops to the University of Massachusetts campus in the fall.

The Amherst BID was formed by the Select Board in November 2011. The district includes most of the downtown. Members are required to make biannual contributions in the form of assessments to their properties to a $400,000 yearly budget.

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.

An Amherst native, Krogh-Grabbe said he will assist the BID in whatever way needed for his successor.

“My goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible,” Krogh-Grabbe said. “I care about the BID, I care about Amherst.”

Krogh-Grabbe said he doesn’t have a new job lined up yet and isn’t sure whether he will remain in his hometown.

“I hope to stay in the area, but that will depend on the job,” Krogh-Grabbe said.

If he does, he said, he would like to stay involved in town affairs, particularly efforts that make the downtown more appealing. As a Town Meeting member, he said not being the BID director will give more latitude to speak his mind.

Until a new executive director is named, the executive committee and chairpeople of various subcommittee will take on more responsibilities, said Roberts.

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