YCEA and Downtown Inc Strategic Affiliation FAQs

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The York County Economic Alliance and Downtown Inc proudly announce they have forged a strategic affiliation designed to bring greater prosperity to all of York County, including Downtown York.

Both organizations have agreed to a strategic affiliation that will combine the resources of two of York County’s most dynamic economic development organizations. Downtown Inc and the YCEA will each maintain their identities and focus, while building their capacity to serve the entire York County community.

Downtown Inc’s Board of Directors voted Thursday to move forward with the affiliation, following the YCEA Board of Directors’ approval on September 6. The move advances strategic conversations that have occurred over at least three years and positions both organizations for greater success.

“The foundation of this strategic affiliation is built upon the accomplishments of both organizations,” Claire Forbush, Chair of the YCEA Board of Directors, and Mandy Arnold, President of Downtown Inc Board of Directors, said in a joint statement. “By bringing together two economic development powerhouses to achieve their distinct missions, we will increase our capacity without diminishing our impact. We have one simple goal at the core of this endeavor: to increase economic growth across York County and within Downtown York in order to create a sustained prosperity for all residents.”

Downtown Inc staff will become YCEA employees, but both the YCEA and Downtown Inc will retain their brands, teams, programs, investments and key focus areas. Downtown Inc will also maintain its current office on Continental Square to remain accessible to local business owners and constituents. Both organizations remain open to co-location in Downtown York in the future.

Small but mighty, Downtown Inc has already proven an effective catalyst of change within its 26-square block service area. It has expanded monthly First Friday celebrations, managed successful events such as Go Green in the City and created the environment for increased business investment with its downtown flower planting program, Landscape Stewardship Fund, Clean-Up Crew services and public-safety initiatives.

Downtown Inc also has assumed a leadership role in the community-driven Brand York initiative and has taken on projects that will substantially benefit all of York County, such as partnering with the City of York to work on the final leg of the York County Heritage Rail Trail.

This affiliation will expand Downtown Inc’s tools and add substantial value for Downtown York businesses. The YCEA’s 20-person team will provide increased marketing support, economic development assistance and project financing capabilities.

There are no plans to change any of either organization’s already successful programing. All funds generated through Business Improvement District assessments, or contributions directed to Downtown York will be used exclusively for those purposes. Funds and membership investment in YCEA will remain with YCEA.

“The only change felt by our members, donors and other stakeholders will be tangible improvements made to the services, programs and economic assistance that each organization provides,” said Silas Chamberlin, CEO of Downtown Inc. “Stability creates opportunity. With the full weight of YCEA behind us, we are now, more than ever, in a position to seize the momentum created by successful initiatives and use it to innovate our efforts in a way that delivers even more value to Downtown York.”

The affiliation marks another step forward in the York County Economic Alliance’s goal to become a recognized leader in collaborative partnerships and the driver of economic development within York County. YCEA will leverage Downtown Inc’s Main Street Program expertise and apply it to impactful work already happening in other York County communities, such as Wrightsville, Dillsburg, Delta and Spring Grove.

Through its work with the York County Industrial Development Authority, YCEA staff has spearheaded the renovation of the Yorktowne Hotel – a project that will bring a national hotel flag, Hilton, to Downtown York. The YCEA has also helped the Women’s Business Center Organization become the leading resource to inspire and empower women in the business and the community.

“We know that the success of York County is tied to the success of our thriving small communities that attract not only tourists and consumers, but also new businesses and tax-paying residents that increase the quality of life for us all,” said Kevin Schreiber, President and CEO of the YCEA.

Neither organization expects to eliminate positions as part of the strategic affiliation.

Chamberlin will move into a leadership role with the YCEA and foster collaboration across countywide economic development initiatives. He will maintain high-level oversight of Downtown Inc, which will create a new Main Street Manager position to focus exclusively on downtown revitalization. A search will commence immediately to fill the newly created position.

Two positions on the YCEA Board of Directors will be reserved for members of the Downtown Inc board, giving Downtown York a stronger voice in countywide economic development initiatives.

“With this strategic alliance, we have significantly increased our capacity to tackle the challenges our community faces and to create new opportunities for everyone who calls York County home,” Forbush and Arnold said. “Plenty of organizations call for collaboration and partnerships. The YCEA and Downtown Inc’s strategic plans are no different, but we are actually walking the walk – together.”