New London Main Street still working on its new role

New London - New London Main Street has hired a local promoter as its new marketing and program development manager while it continues to figure out the organization's role in the future of downtown.

Sean Patrick Murray, who has a decade of experience in producing and marketing events, began working for Main Street last week. It is a four-day-a-week position.

With the departure of its longtime chief executive officer and its funding from the city cut nearly in half this year, the board has decided not to fill the executive position until a strategic plan is completed, according to board President Bence Strickland, who is also The Day's custom publications ad manager.

Penny Parsekian, who had been with Main Street since its inception in 1998, resigned in August. She was replaced by an interim executive director, Linda English, whose contract ended Nov. 30.

"While the cut in funding from the city is certainly understandable given their budget situation, it puts the organization in a compromised position moving forward with the staffing structure the way it was before August,'' Strickland said Tuesday.

Main Street is also looking for an office manager to replace Satomi Raska, who left Nov. 30.

The board also has established a transition committee to address staffing needs.

Murray, who is heading up the city's efforts to organize a parade on St. Patrick's Day next March, will be in charge of the Main Street office. He lives in New London and has extensive knowledge of social media and its role in event and brand promotion, according to Main Street. He was the entertainment coordinator for Sailfest 2010 and events producer/talent buyer for New London Music Festival.

"He'll be making sure everything we do have is moving forward, and he'll be helping us promote the Celebration of Lights, and our rink,'' Strickland said. "We are optimistic that programs can continue to move forward."

k.edgecomb@theday.com

IF YOU GO

What: Main Street's annual Celebration of Lights and Song, with tree lighting and carol singing

When: Starts at 4 p.m. Saturday, with tree lighting and community carol sing at 5 p.m. at The Parade. There will also be music and public skating at the Rink at Parade Plaza.

Where: Throughout the downtown

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