One Acadiana, the nine-parish economic development agency based in Lafayette, has hired an urban development specialist to direct public and private investment in business sites, streetscape improvements and other projects in south-central Louisiana.
Harry Weiss will serve as One Acadiana’s vice president of urban revitalization and development. Weiss is the executive director of the Downtown Development Authority & Business Improvement District in Grand Junction, Colorado, according to a news release from One Acadiana.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Harry to the One Acadiana team,” said Jason El Koubi, president and chief executive officer of One Acadiana. “He has a unique blend of experience in the academic, nonprofit, public and private sectors.”
El Koubi said Weiss is well known in the field of urban development and revitalization.
“Harry will play an instrumental role in delivering results on one of the three core strategies of The Campaign for One Acadiana, working with key community partners to take our urban revitalization efforts to the next level,” El Koubi said.
The Campaign for One Acadiana started after El Koubi was hired in 2013 to combine the resources and other strengths of nine parishes: Lafayette, Iberia, St. Martin, St. Mary, Evangeline, Jefferson Davis, St. Landry, Vermilion and Acadia. The campaign in early 2015 reached its $15 million goal of funding One Acadiana for five years, officials said.
On Thursday, One Acadiana will announce its accomplishments since officially beginning operations Jan. 1.
Weiss will start work in Lafayette in early June, said Anita Begnaud, One Acadiana communications director.
“Weiss will be charged with identifying and catalyzing initiatives and projects that will help revitalize the urban core of Acadiana, including major gateways and areas around downtown Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette,” One Acadiana said in the statement.
His selection as urban development specialist came after a wide-ranging search by members of One Acadiana. Those involved in the search included Pat Trahan, a board member for IberiaBank and chairman of Lafayette’s Downtown Development Authority and Carrie Templeton, chief executive of Lafayette Surgical Hospital.
Before he began his job in Grand Junction, Colorado, Weiss worked for almost 20 years in Asheville, North Carolina.
“(Weiss) helped transform a declining downtown into a nationally acclaimed example of revitalization, admired for its rich historical context, thriving contemporary cultural life and social and economic diversity,” the news release stated.