Downtown Partnership CEO leaving for Des Moines
Glenn Lyons will be leaving his position as CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership in May to head a similar public-private group in Des Moines, Iowa.
Lyons will become the President and CEO of the Downtown Community Alliance, a economic and community development organization
"It's a really good job offer," said Lyons, whose pay is listed at $135,000 for the DTP. (Lyons said he has been giving back some of his salary). "I'm going to do all right," he said of the raise he will receive at his new position.
After the city threatened to cut its portion of the DTP's funding, "I was looking at shutting down the next day," Lyons said. "I realized I had no job security here."
Des Moines has 75,000 people working downtown, mostly in the private sector, said Lyons. Insurance companies and other business employment, and Iowa's distributed tax system, mean more widespread support for the city's development agency, said Lyons.
"Arizona's over-reliant on sales taxes," meaning that programs are less able to weather economic troubles, Lyons said. Iowa raises a greater portion of its revenue from income and property taxes, he said.
Lyons remained enthusiastic about downtown redevelopment.
"All this is happening during a recession without a lot of government money," he said, listing such projects as Madden Media's move to the MacArthur Building, Providence Service Corp. renovating The Scott office building, the construction work in the Rialto Block and facade improvements at the Screening Room and elsewhere.
"These little projects make a world of difference," he said.
"The process never ends," Lyons said of development. "It's dynamic."
"There's a threshold you hit, when people start to come downtown. They realize, 'Hey, there's something happening here.'"
"Tucson has great potential, and I'm going to miss seeing the work we've done come to fruition," Lyons said in a news release. "I'm confident the Downtown Tucson Partnership will continue working toward creating one of the most dynamic urban centers in the Southwest, but its success will depend on continued support from the City of Tucson and other stakeholders."
Lyons has run the DTP since February 2008. He previously worked for a downtown development agency in Alberta.
"Glenn will be missed. He has a real understanding of what it takes to build a dynamic, successful vibrant downtown," said Larry Hecker, chairman of the development group's board of directors.
Lyons will work for the DTP through May 7.
"This is a critical time in the development of downtown Tucson," Hecker said.
"We're disappointed to be losing Glenn, but the progress that's been made and the tremendous momentum that exists will continue. Glenn has assembled a strong organization that will be able to continue developing, improving and marketing downtown while changing perceptions about our city's revitalization."