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Downtown Inc executive director resigns

Sonia Huntzinger, called a key to city revitalization efforts, departing for new job in March

Sonia Huntzinger's last day as executive director of Downtown Inc is March 11. - (Photo / Submitted)

Revitalizing a downtown like York’s “doesn’t just happen organically,” Sonia Huntzinger said.

Instead, she said, “it takes well-skilled, knowledgeable people working together every day, developers willing to do the projects and bankers willing to invest, to make it happen.”

Huntzinger has led her team, the York City organization Downtown Inc, for nearly the past seven years, boosting revitalization efforts in the city center while also promoting such events as the city’s First Friday celebration.

But Huntzinger has announced she will leave her post as executive director of Downtown Inc next month.

She has accepted an appointed position with Chester County, primarily in Coatesville, in the area of economic development, she said Monday.

Her last day in York is Friday, March 11, but she leaves behind a legacy of accomplishment, other York officials said.

“A thriving downtown is an important asset in enhancing the experience for York County’s visitors,” York County Convention & Visitors Bureau President Anne Druck said Monday.

And thanks to Huntzinger, “There is so much momentum that the development will continue to advance in this time of economic development leadership transition for York,” Druck said.

First Fridays have flourished in recent years, and Huntzinger was able to take and systemically implement recommendations from a downtown development consultant who looked at York nearly a decade ago, such as naming a key block of downtown development the “Market District,” Druck noted.

Huntzinger said it will be tough to leave York, “a real warm community,” one she liked from the first time she came to town, for a job interview, in May 2009.

The pear blossoms were blooming, and she remembered it as “just a really nice environment as I walked around Central Market that Saturday morning and was standing in Continental Square.

“I thought to myself, ‘There’s just something that needs to be tapped here,’” she said Monday.

Huntzinger, 53, who grew up in New Jersey, spent much of her career in the Lehigh Valley, mostly in the field of downtown revitalization.

“While I’m the one who happens to be leading, it’s not just me. There are hundreds of people who help to make it happen,” she said of the efforts in York. “If there is any one message I can leave behind, that is it.”

Huntzinger said her reason for leaving is partly personal, since her daughter lives in Delaware County, and the outgoing Downtown Inc leader has one grandchild with another on the way.

“Any grandmother will recognize there’s a great gravitational pull to get closer to those kids,” she said.

As Huntzinger prepares to depart, Downtown Inc’s board of directors will begin its search for a new executive director, the organization said Friday in a statement.

Huntzinger leaves Downtown Inc “in a very strong position and with an equally solid footing as we continue to grow our role in the future of York’s success,” its board president Krista Darr said in the statement.


David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

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