SLO economic development manager to leave position in June

San Luis Obispo’s Economic Development Manager Claire Clark will leave that post June 5, the city announced Wednesday.

Clark was hired in 2004 to spearhead the city’s seismic retrofit program with the goal of historic preservation, safety improvements and economic revitalization in the downtown. In 2006 she was promoted to the city’s economic development manager post to promote initiatives supporting the city’s business community.

“Although I will miss the robust issues in public service, the time has come for new personal and professional experiences,” Clark said in a press release.

Ermina Karim, president of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, said Clark did a strong job of being a liaison between the business community and city leaders.

“She was a critical liaison between the needs of the local business community and City Hall, consistently outreaching to local businesses, assisting with business expansion and internally working to translate local business sentiment,” Karim said in an email response to questions.

Clark’s contributions to the city’s economic success have included work on the Chinatown and Garden Street Terraces projects downtown, and major retail development, including Irish Hills Plaza and Target.

She was also instrumental in working with the community to craft the city’s first Economic Development Strategic Plan.

Karim lauded Clark for helping move nearly 90 buildings through the seismic retrofit process.

As part of the process of replacing Clark, Karim said the chamber hopes the city will seek the ideas of local business people for what they think is needed in economic development.

Clark will continue to be involved in volunteer activities locally and plans to stay on the Central Coast.

Assistant City Manager Michael Codron said the city will begin recruiting for her replacement in the spring and hopes to hire someone in July at the start of the fiscal year.