Regan L. Parker, a graduate of Eastern Michigan University, was nominated for appointment to the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority at the Oct. 2 Ypsilanti City Council meeting.
She stood in front of the council during the audience participation session and presented her case for appointment.
“The city has my heart,” Parker said.
Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said the YDDA has been discussing ways to make the board younger and more diverse.
“I appreciate her comments and her willingness to be on the board,” he said.
“I know the mayor is supportive of having me,” Parker said. “I think part of that is that I’m a little younger than their [YDDA board] demographic. I obviously don’t own a restaurant or a bar, but I understand business development and business growth strategy. And I’ve lived in the city for 11 years.”
Parker has an extensive background in business development strategy at the University of Michigan, Hylant Group in Ann Arbor and Thomson-Shore in Dexter, where she is a business development manager.
If appointed to the YDDA, Parker hopes to help the board build a consensus by getting it to work toward common goals of promoting the city to investors, potential business owners, residents and
“Businesses in Ypsilanti are thriving,” Council Member Michael Bodary said. “It’s becoming an entertainment area with a lot of night life.”
“I frequent [Ypsilanti] and I’ve watched it develop and grow over time,” Parker said. “And I’ve watched the potential—kind of jazz people up and get people motivated and excited about our city again.”
Parker hopes to promote the use of vacant spaces within the city by attracting new businesses and other revenue-generating activities to fill those spaces. Parker’s vision is for Ypsilanti to aesthetically develop the three major districts: Depot Town, West Cross and Downtown.
“I’d like to see more public art. I’d like to see more green. I’d like the city to be a little more walk-able; a little more accessible in terms of public transportation and having it be a little more vibrant and usable,” she said.
Bodary said Ypsilanti doesn’t have the manufacturing and other types of business the city used to have.
“And it’s time to move and change with that,” he said.
Parker has aspired to become involved in the community in this way for about six years and she is excited that the opportunity has come.
The YDDA is scheduled to have a retreat Oct. 3, where it is expected to analyze the board makeup and the credentials that it desires.
City Council is expected to vote on Parker’s appointment at its Oct. 16 meeting.
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