At the start of next month, the Washington Business District Authority will have a new Main Street manager.
Shana Brown, of East Washington, will officially assume the role Aug. 2.
“I absolutely love downtown Washington. I love everything that it has to offer, and it has so much potential. I’m happy to jump in and contribute any way I can,” Brown said.
Brown is replacing Sarah Collier, who took a job as the executive director of the National Road Heritage Corridor in June.
“Sarah brought an incredible amount of energy and commitment to the position,” said Christy Rowing, executive director of Washington’s Citywide Development Corp. “She basically helped to give form and function to the organization over the past number of years.”
Brown grew up in the area, and is a graduate of Chartiers-Houston High School. Her studies took her to Athens, Ga., where she received a degree in history and political science from the University of Georgia, and later a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.
Brown said she and her husband moved back to Washington a decade ago. Together, they ran a real estate business in Georgia, with her handling the legal end of the business.
“I feel like everything with my background has kind of led me to (the Main Street manager job),” Brown said. “As far as my legal background, I am able to do the grants, and I’m able to help out with that aspect. Also, I really enjoy and am passionate about planning events.”
Rowing said an extensive search was launched to fill the Main Street manager position, and Brown was selected from 30 applicants.
“I think it was an equal balance of her background and education, as well as her energy. The fact that she is a local resident, I think she has a very personal, invested interest in seeing the city of Washington succeed,” Rowing said.
Brown already has made inroads with local business owners and hopes to hit the ground running in August.
“The first thing I want to do is to work with the businesses and property owners, and the downtown partnership, and form a mutual vision of downtown,” Brown said.
She sees Washington’s unique history as something for the city to continue building upon, and hopes to have new businesses move in to some of the empty buildings along Main Street.
She said her time in Athens has given her ideas for how to improve downtown Washington, such as attracting more college students to local businesses.
“The town of Athens is a huge inspiration for my vision of the downtown area. It’s incredibly vibrant and full of energy,” Brown said.