Mayor Ed Pawlowski today announced the resignation Community & Economic Development Director Sara Hailstone effective January 22, 2016.
Hailstone has served in the post since March 2010. She has also served as interim Executive Director of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority (ANIZDA).
Hailstone oversaw the acquisition, demolition and construction of the block that is the home of the PPL Center and Renaissance Allentown Hotel. In total, the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) has spawned $1 billion in new investment in the city. Work began last week on a $250 million dollar project that will transform the city's waterfront bringing new office, retail, housing and recreation to a once abandon industrial brownfields.
"I believe we have made significant progress moving the city forward. I am proud of what was accomplished," said Hailstone. “It has been both rewarding and a privilege to be a part of the city's significant growth and development over this time. It was an honor to work for the city along with extremely talented and dedicated staff. I look forward to exploring new career opportunities and discovering new professional challenges."
“Sara has been a dedicated staff member and hard worker who put in many long days and nights on the arena and other private projects,” Pawlowski said. “She ran a department with many and varied responsibilities. I thank her for her many years of service to our city. She will be sorely missed; her shoes will be hard to fill.”
An extensive search will be conducted over the next several months for Hailstone’s replacement.
Hailstone came to the city from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development where she served as Northeast Regional Director, acting as the department’s liaison to economic and community development projects in 15 counties.
Prior to that, Hailstone served nearly six years as Executive Director of the Office of Economic and Community Development for the City of Scranton. While in Scranton, Hailstone oversaw the application, distribution and administration of $20m in Community Development Block Grant funds. She also awarded and administered small business loans totaling in excess of $5m that resulted in the creation of more than 400 new jobs.
The director of DCED supervises a number of city bureaus, including planning, health, building standards and safety, economic development, community development and the city’s federal Community Development Block Grant program. Among other responsibilities, the director develops an annual operating and capital budget for the department and serves on various commissions, like Allentown Economic Development Corporation.