Marysville's Uptown Renewal Team (URT) finally has a full-time manager.

Marysville's Uptown Renewal Team (URT) finally has a full-time manager.

Gretchen Friend, who lives in Dublin, was chosen for the position earlier this month. She is expected to begin work as the URT manager Sept. 1.

"It's exciting, I'm really thrilled to have been chosen," she said. "I think my skills and experience fit really well with what the URT board and the city are looking for. I felt this was a good fit for me."

A Groveport-Madison high school teacher during the 1980s, Friend spent several years in Ashtabula in northeastern Ohio as a business owner and the executive director of the Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Friend said she and her family moved to Dublin a few years ago, and she saw the posting for the Marysville position.

"After moving back, I noticed that anyone who had spoken to me about Marysville always said it was a growing community, a nice area with very nice schools," Friend said. "As soon as the position was posted, we drove up and went to the farmers market to get a feel for the community. I was very impressed with uptown and what's already been done there -- it was very clean and inviting, I felt really positive about it."

Established in 2004, the URT is a division of the Union County Economic Development Partnership. The group is dedicated to revitalizing Marysville's uptown district by encouraging new business opportunities and building re-use and rehabilitation.

Friend will be in charge of managing the daily operations of the URT revitalization efforts, including coordination and implementation of policies and projects, according to committee president Dennis Schulze.

The manager also serves as an advocate, spokesperson and ambassador for initiating, coordinating and implementing the uptown development program. Currently, the URT relies on volunteers and staff from the Union County Chamber of Commerce to implement its projects.

Friend said promoting the uptown district in Marysville would be different from her time spent promoting Ashtabula County.

"I think most uptowns of this size really need someone to specifically help market the area and put events together," she said. "This is different from trying to promote one large entity. It's easier logistically to coordinate, as you're working in the area you're promoting, but there's the challenge of fundraising: counties typically have a bed tax from which to draw funds, and this will involve more fundraising."