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Agency taps Harris as new executive director

Agency taps Harris as new executive director

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – After a nearly four-month search, the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation’s executive board has tapped Meredith Harris as the organization’s new executive director.

Harris, who joined the agency last July as the director of business development, has overseen the organization since former Executive Director Tim Cummings left in May to become Nashua, New Hampshire’s economic development director. Monday was Harris’ first day in her new job.

“I feel great,” she said Tuesday. “Very, very excited for this next chapter.”

Harris wants to build on existing success by bringing more businesses to the city center. In late 2014, the city approved the new “Marlborough Village” zoning district that encourages mixed-use projects with stores on lower floors and housing on upper floors.

“We’re putting a big focus on the downtown area,” she said.

Harris also targeted the potential reuse of the Walker Building as a priority. The agency recently hired Cambridge-based architects SMMA to study uses for the building, which only houses a handful of offices. City officials have characterized the downtown staple as a gem, but an underperforming asset.

Once the study is complete, the findings will be presented and a public hearing will be held. The city will then likely submit a request for proposals to developers, said Harris.

The new executive director also prioritized the Apex project, which is under construction on Rte. 20 and will feature hotels, restaurants, office buildings and an indoor recreation and entertainment complex, and retaining businesses that have moved to the city in recent years.

“At this point we need to make sure the companies that have come here stay here,” she said.

Richard Tomanek, chairman of the organization’s board of directors, praised Harris’ work throughout her tenure at the MEDC and characterized her as “the right person for the job.”

“When Tim (Cummings) left, she stepped in and continued to carry our MEDC’s mission without skipping a beat, and we saw that she has the leadership and commitment that we needed in a new executive director,” Tomanek said in a press release. “She has a contagious enthusiasm, a tremendous passion for the job and the city and a fantastic ability to collaborate with all the different constituents within Marlborough, Boston and throughout New England.”

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.