After leading Renew Moline for the past six years, Janet Mathis has tendered her resignation as the organization's CEO and president, effective May 8.
Renew board Chairman Steve McCann announced Wednesday that Mathis is resigning to focus on other business interests. Renew's board received her letter of resignation earlier Wednesday and accepted her resignation, though regrettably, he said.
"Janet has worked hand-in-hand with the City of Moline to create a public-private partnership that is truly unique in the economic development world," McCann said in a news release. "As a result of Janet’s efforts, Renew is in an extremely strong position financially and very well positioned to assist the city in its economic development efforts."
Mathis told the Quad-City Times that "the timing is right" for her to move on and focus on the consulting business, Development Consortium, which she opened in 2006 with Craig Coil of Springfield.
"I've had several opportunities over the past several years that I've by-passed to stay at Renew because I still had some things I wanted to accomplish," she said. "But now the timing is right."
Moline Mayor Scott Raes, who serves on Renew's board, agreed that the board's sentiment was one of regret as it accepted her resignation.
"I believe she's done a very good job for both Renew and the city," he said. "I think the list of projects completed speaks for itself."
During Mathis' tenure, several downtown and riverfront projects were completed or opened in Moline, including KONE Centre, Moline Live-Work Enterprise Lofts, WIU-QC Phases I and II, the Mills at Riverbend Commons and multiple historic loft housing conversions.
But Raes said Renew Moline still has plenty of projects to focus on from The Q Multi-Modal Station to Heart of America's planned housing projects, the former Speigel building, Phase III of Western Illinois University campus and the land under the current Interstate 74 that will open up with the new bridge's alignment.
"So there's quite a few things in the pipeline," he said.
With "some great things on the horizon" for Renew and its partners, Mathis said, "It's a great time for someone else to come in with some fresh ideas."
She has more than 25 years of public policy and development experience. A veteran staff member of several state agencies and constitutional offices, both within Illinois and in Canada, she is an Edgar Fellow and is involved in many charitable organizations, including current board president of the Center for Youth and Family Services and governing board of FARM Illinois, a new initiative focused on Illinois agriculture and long-term issues related to feeding the world.
In a prepared release, she said, "Moline is lightyears ahead of other similar communities that had industrial, or even just aged, downtowns. Many aspire to what we have here and come to visit and learn from our collective experiences."
"Committed community members, visionary city councils and leadership from individuals and organizations both internal and external to the city and Renew are what has led to this success — resulting in more than $420 million invested in the downtown area since 1989," she said.
Also during her tenure, Renew celebrated its 25th anniversary and participated as the city's comprehensive plan for the riverfront had two updates: the first focused on land use and the second on transportation.
"I applaud the vision that created this place-making economic development model," she said. "I also appreciate the leadership needed to continue it in a time when others are just now trying to figure out how to add to and move beyond the historic rehabilitation and retailer-oriented Main Street programs to what Renew Moline does to plan for and execute the broader community vision."
McCann said he expects to convene an executive committee meeting soon, possibly with strategic planning consultant Steve Sorensen, to discuss the search process.
"We firmly believe that no matter who is at the helm, Renew is going to move forward," he said. "But it's going to be tougher without Janet."