Longtime Downtown Dayton Partnership president to retire

DAYTON — One of downtown Dayton’s most vocal supporters and biggest advocates is stepping down from her longtime role as the president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

Sandy Gudorf will retire in July after working for the not-for-profit organization for about 30 years, including 16 as its leader.

Gudorf, 67, said this was an emotional decision, but she felt like this is the right time to call it quits.

“It’s not only been a job, or a career, it’s been my passion,” Gudorf said.

Credit: Staff

Credit: Staff

Gudorf joined the partnership in about 1993 as its vice president of marketing and communications.

The partnership was formed in the early 1990s, replacing the Downtown Dayton Association.

Gudorf is the partnership’s fourth president and its longest-serving leader. One president served in the position for only a few months.

Gudorf said downtown has seen a remarkable transformation in recent years, and she treasures the relationships she developed and the time she has spent working closely with people who care dearly about the urban center.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership’s main role is to strengthen downtown and make it a better place for businesses, residents and visitors, she said.

Gudorf said she viewed her role as president as being a representative of businesses, residents and property owners.

One of the president’s main responsibilities is to get people together to develop priorities and work toward common goals to improve the urban center, she said.

Greater Downtown Dayton has seen more than $2 billion in new investment since the launch of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan in 2010.

Gudorf said she can’t take credit for that accomplishment because it reflects the hard work of a very large number of people and stakeholders.

Credit: Photo: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Photo: Amelia Robinson

But during Gudorf’s time as president, the partnership has started a variety of successful programs that have helped fill empty buildings and spaces in the urban core, such as the pop-up shop program.

Gudorf said she thinks downtown Dayton has a bright future.

“I truly believe downtown is in a better place than it’s ever been,” Gudorf said.

Local leaders said Gudorf will be hard to replace, but a search committee will be formed to find her successor.

“Sandy has done an incredible job in her tenure at the DDP,” said Dan Meixner, co-chair of the Downtown Dayton Partnership in a statement. “Throughout her career, she has served our downtown community in many strategic roles on many important projects and initiatives, from minor league baseball and RiverScape to many more recent projects.”

He continued, “We will certainly miss her leadership.”

Dayton Mayor Jeffrey Mims Jr., who is the other co-chair for the partnership, said Gudorf was instrumental in launching the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan. He said downtown has seen significant growth and investment under her leadership.

“Sandy’s passion for our downtown is undeniable and we thank her for all that she has done for this community,” he said.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership is funded primarily through assessments on properties in downtown’s special improvement district.

The partnership has nine full-time employees and three part-time workers.