Former Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard will lead downtown Spokane’s main business group.
The Downtown Spokane Partnership announced Thursday that Richard started this week as the organization’s new president.
In September, the partnership’s board fired then-president Mike Tedesco, who earned $95,000 a year in the position.
The Downtown Spokane Partnership contracts with the city to manage about $1 million the city collects in special taxes on downtown merchants and business owners in the city’s Parking and Business Improvement Area. The group uses the money to boost security, employ cleaning crews, market downtown and make other improvements.
Richard, the former government affairs director of the Spokane Home Builders, won two terms as a Republican on the Spokane County Commission. He opted last year not to run for a third.
Spokane City Councilman Jon Snyder, a Democrat, said while he sometimes disagreed with Richard, he believes that he’s a great choice to lead the partnership because of his experience and strong work ethic. Snyder said downtown leaders need more people to understand that a healthy downtown is essential for the entire county’s economy.
“Mark could carry that message maybe to people who really haven’t been receptive to it before,” Snyder said.