After announcing her departure from Ketchum city government earlier this week, Community and Economic Development Director Lisa Horowitz said Wednesday that she is optimistic about the city’s future
Horowitz is stepping down from her role with the city to reopen a private consulting firm. She has guided planning and economic development in Ketchum for the last six years. She previously served as the city’s planning director from 1996 through 2002.
“I am proud to have been a part of Ketchum’s growth,” Horowitz said in an interview. “A lot has been accomplished since the economic downturn.”
Horowitz took the job before the recession, and said the downturn had consequences that no one in City Hall could have imagined.
“The recession made everything challenging and there was a lot of expectation with hotels and entitlements that couldn’t be met,” Horowitz said. “It made us less able to do long-range planning projects. With the economy recovering, we should be able to do more long-range projects for the city.”
In spite of the challenges the city faced, Horowitz credited former City Administrator Gary Marks with handling the city’s numerous budget cuts in a smart and strategic fashion that allowed Ketchum “to stay ahead of the curve.”
Ketchum Mayor Nina Jonas said the community and economic development director position will be dissolved. The economic development responsibilities will belong to the city administrator, while city Planning Manager Joyce Allgaier will assume Horowitz’s community development obligations.
“I see a renewed sense of cooperation, and people want to work cooperatively together more now.”
nbsp; Horowitz tendered her resignation on Monday, giving the city one-month notice of her departure.
Horowitz said she enjoyed very strong working relationships with each City Council member and former Mayor Randy Hall while he was in office.
“He and the council recruited me back from Montana,” she said. “Randy has a unique skill set, and so does Nina Jonas. She’s off to a great start as mayor, and I think she will continue to do well.”
Hall was also highly complimentary of Horowitz. He said she displayed consistent hard work and loyalty.
“Lisa was an invaluable member of our executive team,” Hall said. “The success she had is in plain view of Ketchum. We would have not had our successes without her.”“I see a renewed sense of cooperation, and people want to work cooperatively together more now.” Lisa Horowitz Development director
During her tenure with the city, Horowitz also served on several community organizations, including the new Sun Valley Air Service Board, Fly Sun Valley Alliance, Ketchum Community Development Corp. and Sustain Blaine.
Before returning to work for Ketchum in 2008, Horowitz was the principal in LH Land Use Consulting, based in Whitefish and Choteau, Mont.
“I’m excited to get back into consulting,” Horowitz said. “It’s very fun and very varied. When I was in Whitefish, I had some government municipal projects and other private projects that [had] to go through the planning and zoning process.”
She said she plans on continuing to live in Hailey for the foreseeable future, and plans on doing most of her consulting work within the state of Idaho.
“I want to have a good mix of client base, and will try to bring thoughtful planning to the valley,” she said. “I’ll be doing land-use planning and property management up and down the valley and in greater Idaho.”
As Horowitz returns to the private sector, she said she believes Ketchum will continue to prosper as the economy recovers.
“I’m optimistic for Ketchum’s future,” Horowitz said. “I think it’s really going to turn around in the next couple of years, and there will be some great opportunities for the city. I’m really optimistic because of the way Mayor Jonas has reached out to other cities. I see a renewed sense of cooperation, and people want to work cooperatively together more now.”
Eric Avissar: email@example.com