WESTFIELD, NJ — Downtown Westfield Corporation’s longtime executive director has left position.
Patricia Hanigan, who chairs the DWC's Board of Directors, said the decision to end Executive Director Sherry Cronin’s tenure as head of the government entity in charge of the downtown’s special improvement district was mutual.
“I am very grateful for Sherry’s dedication to the DWC and her 18 years of service leading this critical organization for the betterment of our downtown,” Hannigan said in a news release. “On behalf of the board, I offer my sincere thanks for her many contributions.”
Cronin’s team — including assistant executive director Beth Brenner and director of marketing Jamie Lemberg — will continue in their roles, Hanigan said. The announcement of Cronin’s departure came a full week after her last day serving in the role, July 31. The DWC board intends to soon finalize and announce plans to search for a new executive director, Hanigan said.
She declined to answer additional questions pertaining to Cronin’s contract and departure from the role. “Please refer to the press release for my statement,” Hannigan wrote in an email. “At this time I do not have any additional comments.”
Cronin began as the executive director of Downtown Westfield Corporation in 2001, the year of the first Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza. Prior to that, she served as a volunteer for the downtown and on the Board of Directors of the DWC.
“I had three children. I had Daniel, 22, Evan, 16, and I had the downtown for 18 years, and I loved it,” Cronin told TAPinto Westfield. “I helped a lot of businesses to do a lot, and I’m proud of that.”
Cronin, who lives in Westfield, began her tenure at Downtown Westfield Corporation following her career as a real estate auditor for Prudential, a job she left to led the DWC, where she had begun volunteering. She also is a vice president of the Westfield Historical Society and serves on the Board of Directors for Downtown New Jersey, a regional group that advocates for downtown districts.
In 2004, Cronin helped the DWC to secure recognition from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“The pinnacle of my tenure was the great American Main Street award, which is something that as a community you only get once,” Cronin said. “We tried three times prior to me even being there. I was able to get it for Westfield and it is prominently displayed on the corner of Elm and East Broad streets.”
As reported by TAPinto Westfield, the retail vacancy rate in Westfield’s special improvement district was slightly above the average recorded during the final quarter of 2018 in northern and central New Jersey, but it fell below the national retail vacancy rate.
Cronin’s departure comes shortly after the DWC secured a $20,000 transformation grant from the state’s Main Street, New Jersey program, monies that will help to pay for a mural at the South Avenue circle underpass.
Mayor Shelley Brindle, who is a non-voting member of the DWC board and has made improving the downtown’s business climate a key goal during her time in office, extended thanks to Cronin.
“Sherry leaves behind a lasting legacy, most notably leading the efforts behind winning the prestigious 2004 Main Street award,” Brindle said in the release. “I join the DWC Board in extending my gratitude for her tireless commitment to our downtown.”
Cronin said she would miss working at the DWC. What's next for her remains to be seen.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” Cronin said. “I have a lot of skills, and I’ve got a lot of contacts. It’s something I’ll have to figure out.”