March 23, 2019

Downtown partnership director Megivern quits post

Adam Megivern has resigned after a decade at the helm of the Cortland Downtown Parnership.

Megivern’s official resignation date was Dec. 28, said Evan Geibel, president of the partnership. “It was certainly short notice,” Geibel said.

Megivern’s resignation was not a result of the recent kerfuffle over distribution of Cortland County occupancy tax, which helped fund many partnership events like First Light and Taste of Downtown, Geibel said.

The proposed Cortland County budget for 2019 originally eliminated funding for the partnership from the tax, but the partnership threatened to cancel annual events starting with the First Light New Year’s celebration.

The county Legislature relented, and restored $5,000 in funding and First light was back on with the help of a corporate donation.

The Cortland Downtown Partnership’s goal is to enhance and promote commercial and cultural offerings of downtown Cortland.

Geibel said Megivern had a challenging job because the partnership is a membership model that always has to make the case for why people should become members.

“Until we were able to purchase the building at 40-42 Main St. we had no set stream of revenue to fund operations,” said Geibel, who is also publisher of the Cortland Standard. “Now we have a building that will not only generate revenue for the organization but it will encourage entrepreneurship and business development downtown.”

The Downtown Partnership is behind many events as well as downtown revitalization projects.

Geibel said Megivern had a strong vision for downtown and he fought for it.

“Everything that has been undertaken has been undertaken in a manner in line with our mission, vision and values,” Geibel said. “And I see no reason why our efforts won’t continue in that vein.”

The partnership still plans to host its signature events and continue to promote its members, events and programming without Megivern, Geibel said. “And with the Cortland Business Innovation Center, we hope to even expand the community of downtown businesses.”

Megivern could not be reached for comment.

Megivern started as executive director of the partnership in December of 2008, replacing Lloyd Purdy, the partnership’s first director. Megivern brought with him a eclectic background.

He grew up in Virgil and attended Cortland High School. He graduated from Cortland in 1995 and went on to study environmental science at the University of Vermont.

While in college, he decided to use his degree experience to become an environmental educator and natural resources management specialist with the Peace Corps in Pampa Grande, Bolivia.

After the Peace Corps, Megivern attended the University of New Orleans for a master’s degree in public administration, nonprofit leadership, hazard policy. He then moved back to Cortland.

He worked as a laborer for Suit-Kote Corp. and a substitute teacher in Cortland city schools.

Before taking the position at the Downtown Partnership, he had worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Syracuse for about a month.

He also served on the city Common Council from 2015 through 2017, while with the partnership.

Jane Witty, director of promotions for the partnership, will assume the operations of the organization until a new director is found, Geibel said.

“As for a replacement, we still need to meet with our full board and decide which direction we’ll go,” he said.

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