DownTown Issaquah Association director resigns

December 7, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 2011

The leader of the DownTown Issaquah Association — the second person to hold the post since board members replaced the longtime executive director in February — resigned Tuesday, after only a few months on the job.

“I have not been empowered by the DIA Board to accomplish the goals they set for themselves or for me,” Executive Director Annique Bennett said in a message emailed to association board members Tuesday afternoon. “I have enjoyed working with each of you and wish you the best of luck on your community wine events and marketing.”

The announcement came a day before a major event on the DownTown Issaquah Association calendar, a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the historic Hailstone Feed Store.

Bennett started at the downtown merchants association as cultural events coordinator in early spring and then succeeded Tanya Alter in the top spot. Alter, in turn, came onboard after a staff shakeup in February and left the organization in the late spring.

Starting last year, the board redefined the roles for association employees and, in February 2011, decided to let go longtime association leader Greg Spranger. Longtime Cultural Events Manager Michael Johnson resigned after the board decided not to keep Spranger.

The board’s decision prompted angry letters to the editor and bad blood among some downtown merchants and supporters. (Spranger helped launch ArtWalk, led the effort to restore the historic Hailstone Feed Store, and supported the Fenders on Front Street Car Show and Cruise and countless other community events.)

In February, then-DownTown Issaquah Association President David Irons said the organization intended to pursue a different approach to boosting downtown businesses and programs.

The organization also experienced changes in board membership since the reorganization. Irons has since left the organization, too.

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One Response to “DownTown Issaquah Association director resigns”

  1. Jake George on December 9th, 2011 9:58 am

    It seems very clear that without Greg Spranger and Michael Johnson DIA has lost its driving force.

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