When Karin Manovich agreed to take on the Troy Main Street downtown revitalization program, she had no idea one of the greatest experiences of her life was down the road.
Manovich, as part of her responsibilities advocating the city’s downtown, was the one who wrote an application for Troy to be considered as a location for the 2013 Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road Stopover.
“When I submitted the application, it was like playing the lottery. The lesson is to go after things that seem impossible, out of your reach … because sometimes it happens,” she said.
The successful event last Labor Day weekend still has people talking, including Manovich as she wraps up her work this month after just more than four years as Main Street’s executive director. She’s moving out of state with husband, Mark, who has a new job.
The parting will be tough because she’s come to love not only the downtown architecture that first attracted her to town but also the downtown business operators and supporters.
“I do think there is something special here that you don’t see in a lot of places in terms of the friendliness and the real pride and determination to keep Troy special,” she said. “I have been recruiting and placing volunteers in various places my whole life. Here, people always say ‘yes.’ ”
She came to Troy from Dayton’s historic South Park, where she led the neighborhood through an image change, revitalization with event marketing and historic buildings and destination marketing. “It was similar to here, but more urban,” she said recently from the Main Street office on the Public Square.
Main Street’s board announced her departure with regrets. It credited Manovich with helping improve first floor commercial occupancy to 98 percent downtown and developing the downtown farmers market, among other achievements.
“There has been a lot of work behind the scenes. Troy Main Street’s most visible front is all of our events, but we do a lot behind the scenes, going to businesses we want and trying to get them to expand and working with businesses to try to find the best spot for them,” she said. “The best part of the job is talking with merchants, seeing their success and seeing how hard they work. I don’t think people realize how hard they work and how narrow the margins are.”
Once she gets settled into her new community, Manovich said she’d like to pursue similar work.
She and her husband have four grown children: Ellen, Diane, Mike, and John.
“When interviewed for job, I said, “I raised four children; I can do any job,” she said with a laugh.
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