Cortland Downtown Partnership’s board of directors is currently working to determine the organization’s future role in the community, according to a press release by the organization’s Vice President Valerie VanGorder.
CDP leadership say they’re near completion of a $2 million project that renovated a vacant building on Main Street into the new Business Innovation Center, one of several projects supported by the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
Already occupying the building are the Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Business Development Corporation and local Red Cross volunteers. It also has space for SUNY Cortland’s Geospatial Institute, another product of the DRI.
At the end of last year, the Partnership was forced to solicit the sale of several popular events like First Light, Chill-a-Bration and Taste of Downtown.
The issue at the time with continuing to fund these events was a sizable budget shortfall, largely blamed by the CDP on a decrease in county support in the form of occupancy tax allocation grants.
That shortfall is also the subject of a controversial departure in November by former Executive Director Adam Megivern, who has since filed a $500k lawsuit alleging wrongful termination by the organization and libel by its president, Evan Geibel.
Megivern states that he resigned specifically because of these budgeting issues, and that he’d reached a mutual understanding to do so with CDP leadership – which he believes was ousted when Geibel described his resignation as ‘unexpected’ during interviews that followed.
That case is currently under consideration in Cortland County Court.
“The Cortland Downtown Partnership Board of Directors remains dedicated to Historic Downtown Cortland,” VanGorder said. “As a recipient of funds from the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we look forward to seeing the rest of the funded projects completed in the coming years.
This is a pivotal moment for Cortland, and we are proud of the work we have done and the work done by others to enhance commerce and culture downtown. We thank you for your support, and we’ll see you downtown.”