Downtown Inc names new CEO

Sean Philip Cotter

A Northestern High School grad will return to York County to lead Downtown Inc in York City.

Silas Chamberlin, who previously served as the executive director of the Schuylkill River National Heritage Area in Pottstown, takes over Monday, Oct. 17 for the organization that oversees York City's urban core.

Chamberlin, a 2002 Northeastern graduate, has also served as a regional adviser for the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, according to Downtown Inc. The organization says he holds a doctorate in American environmental history from Lehigh University and has recently published a book, “On the Trail: A History of American Hiking.”

Silas Chamberlin

"We believed he was the best candidate," said Krista Darr, the chair of the Downtown Inc board and a senior vice president at Fulton Bank. "He has all the fundamentals."

Outgoing Downtown Inc director sees path to success

Downtown Inc formed in 2006 from the Main Street York nonprofit organization and the York Business Improvement District Authority, an entity created by York City government. The two entities still keep their books separately, but they work through the combined organization.

The authority elements are similar in that regard to the city's Sewer Authority or the General Authority that runs the city's parking lots and meters. York City Mayor Kim Bracey appoints the organization's board members, who are volunteers who oversee the organization.

York City's downtown is a Main Street area, a designation from the state that opens up access to more funding and various partnerships.

Downtown Inc's budget is just over half a million dollars, according to its four-year business plan, which it renewed at the start of this year. It's funded by the money raised by Main Street York's fundraising efforts and property assessments done through the YBIDA.

When previous executive director Sonia Huntzinger left Downtown Inc in March, the organization had begun to update its strategic plan, which had guided the organization since it formed 10 years ago. This update puts more of a focus on building community partnerships going forward

Darr said that Chamberlin has experience working with a wide range of organizations, including Main Street-related ones, through his previous jobs.

"Everyone's excited to get going," she said.

— Sean Cotter covers York City for The York Dispatch. Contact him or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.