September 04 , 2008
Downtown manager leaving job to move west
Lloyd Purdy moving to Oregon with his wife who has new job at hospital in Portland
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland Downtown Manager Lloyd Purdy stands on the roof of the Beard Building overlooking Main Street in December 2007.
Lloyd Purdy, executive director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership, announced Wednesday he is leaving the position after two years.
“We’ve overcome challenges through cultural and economic successes,” Purdy said of his experience as the partnership’s first director. “I’ve enjoyed building the Downtown Partnership from an idea to a vibrant, active organization that can improve the way anything works in Cortland.”
Purdy will leave his position in October and move to Portland, Ore., with his wife, Dr. Georgiana Purdy. Georgiana Purdy has accepted a tenure-track faculty position at Oregon Health and Sciences University.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be forever,” Garry VanGorder, Cortland County Chamber of Commerce executive director, said this morning. He added that due to the nature of Georgiana Purdy’s work, it was assumed relocation might occur.
“I know everyone involved since the beginning is pleased with what Lloyd has accomplished,” he said. “The Downtown Partnership has helped Main Street prosper since he’s been here.”
Over the past two years, the Downtown Partnership has attracted more than $1.6 million in state and federal foundation grants for community building projects for downtown Cortland.
“We’ve added to Cortland’s bottom line, bringing funds into this community,” Purdy said.
The Downtown Partnership was formed in 2006 after a merger of the nonprofit Downtown Business Association and the Cortland County Improvement Corp.
VanGorder said both organizations were merged to help revitalize downtown project operations. He said it was felt that having a paid full-time staff member would allow for more effective operation.
Purdy said he is working on securing a replacement whom he feels can continue making the Downtown Partnership a benefit to the community.
When asked about what specifically he will look for in a replacement, Purdy pointed to a framed copy of the Athenian Oath, a Greek-based public service philosophy, hanging on his office wall.
It begins, “We will ever strive for the ideals and sacred things of the city, both alone and with many … we will transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”
Purdy said this philosophy is essential to the mindset of someone in public service.
“The oath reminds me that at the core of your being you have to believe you can make a difference in your community,” he said. “You have to be the one that gets it done.”
Strong relationship-building skills, ability to take criticism, and what he described as a combination of “vision-setter and worker bee” are qualities he hopes his replacement will possess.
Purdy feels one of the greatest successes he has had with the Downtown Partnership has been working with SUNY Cortland and local businesses to bring about $500,000 worth of live music to Cortland County over the past two years.
Purdy said the Downtown Partnership receives a portion of its funding from the state, but local businesses provide funding in the community sector. He described the Partnership’s funding as a combined community investment in a better downtown.
Events funded through this include the Main Street Music Series, folk music series at Blue Frog Café, performances at the Center for the Arts in Homer and various campus concerts.
The Downtown Partnership also worked with Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton to secure $300,000 in state funds to promote entrepreneurs through a business incubator program.
Purdy explained the program provides space and training for those interested in starting a business to bring their idea to the market. He added the funds were awarded this year for 2009 and the program is still in development.
Georgiana Purdy has spent the past five years as a postdoctoral research fellow at Cornell University in Ithaca. At OHSU, she will be researching a cure for tuberculosis. She said her work will be as a microbiologist, and will focus on studying how the new strains of tuberculosis have been thriving and seeking possible weaknesses.
She added the only current tuberculosis drugs were developed about 50 years ago, and since then multi-drug resistant strains have emerged over the last decade.
“Over one third of the world’s population is infected,” she said.
She said she received a $250,000 National Institutes of Health grant this year to start her own research program, with the condition that she accept a tenure-track faculty position.
Purdy said he has no immediate plans for what to do next. He said he hopes to look for work in economic and community development or public affairs, or build upon grant writing success when he worked as a municipal consultant. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University.
“The municipal sector is where my interest lies,” he said.
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