By Alan J. Keays, VTDigger
RUTLAND — Michael Coppinger is stepping down next month from his post as chief marketer for the city.
Coppinger, the executive director of the Downtown Rutland Partnership for the past 10 years, said he formally submitted his resignation Tuesday, March 14, at a meeting of the organization’s board of directors.
“Ten years is a long time to be in a role as a downtown director,” he said Wednesday. “I think that healthy turnover in a job like that is good.”
His resignation takes effect April 14.
Coppinger, 39, ran for mayor, finishing third in the four-person field. He previously served six years on the city’s Board of Aldermen more than a decade ago and ran a previous campaign for mayor in 2007.
He said he had started thinking about leaving the Downtown Rutland Partnership about a month ago.
“I felt this was a good time,” he said. “It’s a time right now where a director needs to be fully dedicated to what’s coming up in the summer and fall.”
He has no immediate plans for what will be next, but said he has no intention of leaving the area. Coppinger says he may turn his entertainment and DJ business into a special events management company.
During his tenure, the Downtown Rutland Partnership launched Hops on Top, a brew fest on the upper floor of the downtown transit center, and Friday Night Live, a summer event in which Center Street is turned into a marketplace and venue for activities and entertainment.
He also talked of increasing “market-rate” housing in the city’s business district.
First-floor storefronts are now about 80 percent occupied, he said, compared to a high rate of occupancy in the mid-90s. Two prominent businesses recently moved out of downtown, the Coffee Exchange and Hawley’s florist.
Coppinger said serving as the head of the Downtown Rutland Partnership was the best job he has held.
“I literally had no one day that was exactly like the other my whole 10 years,” he said. “That made it exciting for me and that was motivation for coming to work every day. That’s tough to find in a job.”