When I walked into Foundation, The Rolling Stones’ 1971 album “Sticky Fingers” was playing in the background. Peter and Alex Cohen, brothers and owners of the shop, lounged on chairs as they chatted with two customers who were flipping through their newest shipment. “We started to sell records on Instagram to fund the other stuff we […]
With some big shoes to fill, College Park Main Street has hired Jeff Kurtz, 44, as its new executive director.
After the untimely death of CPMS Executive Director Andrea Kudlacz August 31, 2017, it was difficult for the board to imagine anyone else in the position.
“Andrea, in so many ways, wonderfully represented College Park and our Main Street. Although we know she can never be replaced, we are confident that Jeff will bring the same passion to our business district, and we are excited to introduce and immerse him in the College Park community,” CPMS president Amy Rawls said.
Kurtz brings seven years experience in working with the Main Street program, most recently in Fernandina Beach and in Waterloo, Iowa, before that.
Itching to be in a bigger city, he felt the College Park position would be a great fit.
“I have always loved the idea of incorporating the Main Street program into a large urban environment, and Orlando is such a successful model,” Kurtz said. “Nationwide, population migration out of city centers into suburbs has finally reversed after many decades. People are rediscovering what cities have to offer, and I think Main Street has a lot to bring to the table as this phenomenon plays itself out around the country.”
Kurtz fell in love with College Park on his first visit and said: “Although I really prefer big cities, I grew up as a small-town kid. My initial impression was that College Park really combines the best of both of those elements. On the one hand, you have world-class cultural and entertainment opportunities that present themselves in College Park specifically but also within Orlando as a whole. On the other hand, College Park retains that hometown, close-knit community feel, where you can still know the people you interact with every day. Hard to beat that combination!”
After meeting with CPMS board members and business owners, Kurtz expressed optimism about the direction of the program. “The people I have met so far have been amazing. There is a creative energy I have encountered that really encourages me, but it is combined with a solid work ethic and committed community spirit. A lot can be accomplished given that these conditions are in place.”
Kurtz had the privilege of briefly getting to know Andrea Kudlacz through the Main Street program and aims to honor and continue her legacy.
“First of all, let me offer condolences to the community. I had the good fortune to meet Andrea at the National Main Street conference earlier this year in Pittsburgh. We sat together at the State Dinner and hit it off right away. I can see why people regard her so highly, because her dedication and determination were apparent right out of the gate. Ultimately, I think most of us who work for community betterment realize that we owe a great debt to those who came before us and likewise want the work to carry on after us. I am honored to serve in the role and will do all I can to further the program’s mission and do her proud.”
Kurtz moved to College Park with his girlfriend, Melody Martel, who works for the CoventBridge Group.