Grand Haven selects new DDA director

The Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority will have a new leader before the start of the New Year.
Alex Doty
Dec 20, 2013

The authority this week announced the hiring of Diane Larkin as its new executive director. She will start Dec. 30.

"Of the dozens of applicants for our director position, Diane Larkin clearly was an exceptional candidate,” Authority Chairman Dale Kwekel said. “I am extremely grateful Diane has accepted our offer. With her guidance, our great team of volunteers will even be more successful in their efforts to keep our business district vibrant for years to come.”

Larkin brings with her more than a decade of municipal experience. For the past seven years, she has specialized in implementation of the Michigan Main Street model. 

Larkin’s previous experience includes oversight of both Marshall and Howell’s Main Street programs. She was awarded Michigan Main Street Program of the Year in 2008 for overall downtown accomplishments and awarded Michigan Main Street Manager of the Year in 2009. 

Her responsibilities in Grand Haven will include day-to-day operations of the DDA, and she’ll provide operational oversight and direction in strategic planning and goal setting.

Larkin said she is excited to begin her job in Grand Haven, and was impressed with what she saw during the interview process. She noted that she already had a chance to meet a variety of people in the community.

“I was impressed with the quality and variety of our downtown merchants, and the gracious hospitality and friendliness that greeted me at every turn,” she said. “Engaged volunteers promoting events and working on projects, and a remarkable mix of cross-generational visitors to downtown, bring a vibe to Grand Haven that is the envy of most cities across the country.”

Larkin replaces Dana Kollewehr, who this past summer decided to leave Grand Haven to take a job with Holland’s downtown program.

During Kollewehr’s time in Grand Haven, the downtown area underwent plenty of changes. The biggest was the reconstruction of Washington Avenue, complete with new landscaping and public utilities.

Comments

stefherder

Welcome Diane! Looking forward to working more with you!

watchingyou

A more open mind I hope. Welcome.

LessThanAmused

First order of business...go to Louisiana and try to buy back the light show that may have just brought more business to downtown.

No, I'm not bitter and that's the last time I'll mention it. I think.

ghresident

Good job LTA, I was thinkin' the same thing!

LessThanAmused

...and another thing...I'm a bit perlexed why the DDA had to go outside the community to find someone to guide and promote the DDA. Isn't it kind of sad that no one could be found to do this job within the Tri-cites area? It says a lot to me about the organization and leadership of the DDA when they need to find someone else to steer their boat.

On a positive note, I guess if you know you don't have the skills to do the job, it makes sense to admit it and go find someone who does. Kudos to the DDA for admitting their failings.

One last question...so, after reading this....

"During Kollewehr’s time in Grand Haven, the downtown area underwent plenty of changes. The biggest was the reconstruction of Washington Avenue, complete with new landscaping and public utilities".

is this the person I should thank for the change from stoplights to the unbridled chaos of a 4-way stop every 100 yards? I'd buy Ms. Larkin dinner and be her best friend and loyal ally for the rest of my life if she'd undo that boondoggle. Going down Washington during the height of the tourist season is akin to running a gauntlet.

Anyhow, welcome Ms. Larkin and good luck with that crew.

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