Elgin's Downtown Neighborhood Association is entering a new phase.
The board of directors has been searching for its next leader since Executive Director Tonya Hudson announced her exit in April. DNA promotions coordinator Jason Pawlowski has been tapped as the new managing director, a position that will combine some of his and Hudson's duties.
Karin Jones, president of the board, said the organizational structure will remain the same as the DNA continues as an Illinois Main Street program member focused on organization, promotion, design and economic restructuring. But she said it will move forward as a stronger organization with Pawlowski at the head.
"We were very saddened to lose Tonya but it also gave us a new opportunity to revamp," Jones said. "We embrace the opportunity to evolve the organization into the next steps."
The board is still looking for a part-time promotions assistant as well as a full-time fundraiser to expand DNA's reach across Elgin.
Pawlowski said the focus of the fundraiser's duties will be getting beyond downtown and developing relationships with larger clients and corporations. He tried to create similar synergies between the downtown and "crosstown" business owners through the Downtown Madness competition that pits signature dishes from each eatery against the others.
Growing a "One Elgin" perspective is on Pawlowski's list of goals, in addition to facilitating communication between the DNA and the community.
"My focus is going to be on trying to establish and identify the needs of what our downtown stakeholders are looking for from the DNA and then working with the board to make those visions a reality," Pawlowski said.