Robinson leaves Main Street
By ANDREW MCGINN
After more than two years of trying to restore vibrancy to Jefferson’s historic commercial district as program director of Jefferson Matters: Main Street, Alan Robinson has resigned from the position, citing the need to tend to another historic property: His 90-year-old father.
“I need a break, seriously,” Robinson, 59, said Tuesday, a day after submitting his resignation, effective immediately, to the Jefferson Matters board. “I’m so distracted by what’s going on. It’s having a real effect on me.”
Robinson on Monday cited the need to devote more time to the care of his elderly father, Ralph Robinson, of Grand Junction, a Navy veteran of World War II.
The elder Robinson last month suffered a serious fall at home.
A 1973 graduate of East Greene High School, Alan Robinson served as the first director of Jefferson Matters: Main Street, an organization committed to economic development through historic preservation.
“An individual may own the building, but the community takes pride in it. We want to all see it flourish,” Robinson told The Jefferson Herald in December.
He was hired as program director — a part-time position — in September 2012.
That was the year Jefferson was accepted into the Main Street Iowa program, a branch of the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
During his tenure, Robinson oversaw a group of volunteers who undertook various downtown public art projects and placed historical plaques on lampposts around the Square.
“One of the other Main Street directors described us as herding cats,” Robinson joked. “By and large, this group’s really good.”
Jefferson Matters’ next project — and arguably its most ambitious to date — is an empty building tour in April designed to drum up interest in vacant downtown storefronts and upper-story living spaces.
“I need time to decompress from a very involved (sometimes overwhelming) affiliation with downtown Jefferson and the JMMS program in the last 2½ years,” Robinson wrote in his resignation letter. “Further, I need to pursue a full-time position with benefits.”
“We have enjoyed working with Alan over the past 2½ years as he helped the organization get off the ground,” said Jamie Daubendiek, president of the Jefferson Matters: Main Street board. “Although we will miss Alan, the strength of the Jefferson Matters: Main Street program lies in its volunteers. We have an excellent group of volunteers that will continue to move our organization to the next level.
“A lot of great things are happening in Jefferson, and Jefferson Matters: Main Street is excited to help be a part of its bright future.”