The Transylvania Times -

Heath Seymour Stepping Down From HOB Position

 

March 11, 2019



Heath Seymour has announced his resignation as the Heart of Brevard (HOB) executive director, effective the end of March.

Seymour has served as executive director for more than five years.

During this time, downtown Brevard has seen many positive changes, according to a press release.

Early on, Seymour helped to increase Heart of Brevard’s focus on economic development while managing not to lose any of the ongoing festivals. Heart of Brevard has not only maintained these community events but also managed to step in to save the street dances and added a new upcoming event called “Arts in March,” the release said.

The HOB has also helped others bring their events into downtown, such as “Luft Wasser,” an Appalachian Porsche Club event coming in late April.

These events, along with White Squirrel Festival, Fourth of July, Halloweenfest, Twilight Tour and others, all require a great deal of time for the office staff, which has averaged fewer than two people over the years.

During the past five years more than 70 businesses have opened or expanded in the HOB, leading to a net increase of 20 to 30 businesses within the district.

There are still more businesses wanting to open downtown, with some being added to a long-term waiting list for certain downtown locations, the release said.

There has been an investment of nearly $30 million in businesses and properties in the downtown during Seymour’s tenure.

There have been two infill projects (a project where a building is built in a vacant lot which formerly housed another building in the past), and other infill projects in ongoing discussions.

Seymour and the HOB helped to secure a $500,000 forgivable loan for the renovation of the current location of DDB, and another $200,000 grant which helped to finance a new three-story mixed-use building on the corner of Jordan and Broad streets. These sorts of projects also lead to investment in other properties in downtown.

Seymour has also worked closely with the city while building an application for a BUILD grant, and other funding, which still has the potential to bring monies to downtown Brevard for months and years ahead, the release said.

The HOB has also awarded its own smaller grants recently to qualifying downtown businesses.

An example is the renovation of the Number 7 Arts location on the corner of Main and Broad streets.

The HOB is Brevard’s Main Street program.

The Main Street program is part of a national program that has its roots in preserving commercial historic districts as a part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The program is a national model, which is also used in other nearby historic downtowns, including Waynesville and Hendersonville.

This broad approach builds committees to focus on the promotion, economics and the design of historic downtown areas.

Over time these communities can better maintain their authentic historic character and add life and economic vitality to their downtown core.

“I have been doing this sort of work in several towns and for more than 15 years now,” Seymour said. “Our family spent the most time in Brevard, and there is a great reason for this. Brevard is a great place with amenities and sophistication often associated with larger cities, but also the charm found in smaller towns — though most of those small towns don’t have the beauty and charm found in Brevard.

“I just hope I did my part to provide some useful help while here and always tried my best not to interrupt the great things that were already happening every day in Brevard. I plan to stay connected to Brevard and look forward to seeing all the great things to come.”

Seymour is moving on to another town and his new position will be announced sometime in Apri.

Jimmy Perkins, the HOB board’s president, said that while they are sad to see Seymour leave, they are happy for his next opportunity.

“The board would like to thank Heath for his five years of leadership and service to the HOB,” Perkins said. “The good news is that Heath is leaving the HOB organization in a strong and healthy position. The executive board is already putting a transition plan in place, and Heath is fully committed to helping with this process in every way possible to assure a smooth transition over the next few weeks and months.”

During his time at the HOB, Seymour has worked with Nancy Coleman, the HOB promotions co-ordinator and administrative assistant.

“I have more than enjoyed working with Heath,” Coleman said. “He has been a friend and mentor for five years now, and I highly value the time we’ve had together. Heath is one of those people destined for greatness, and I couldn’t be happier or more supportive sending him off to his new challenge. I feel so privileged to have been able to work with him and learn from him, and I know that the HOB and the historic downtown area are both in a strong place right now because of what he has accomplished here.

“There is no doubt that we will continue to move forward in a very positive way. We have an amazing team in place and are looking forward to what lies ahead.”

 
 

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