John Bry, whose 20-year professional career has been spent on the development and revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods across the country, is the new program coordinator for Main Street Oakland County.
Bry becomes the main contact between Oakland County and the 22 communities that comprise Main Street Oakland County – the only full-service, county-level Main Street program in the United States and the oldest Main Street program in Michigan. Bry replaces Bob Donohue, who left earlier this year to head up economic development in South Lyon.
“His passion for downtowns and historic preservation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Irene Spanos, who directs economic development for Oakland County. “He has years of experience in many Main Street programs, and I expect to see great things and new initiatives for our downtowns. We’re lucky to have him.”
Bry, an Indiana native, has a graduate degree in historic preservation from Ball State University and has been executive director for Main Street programs in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. He owned a consulting business and offered technical advice on downtown and community revitalization to more than 100 communities in 14 states. He is a certified Main Street manager.
Bry has successfully written grant applications for more than $3 million to fund heritage and revitalization projects throughout the United States.
“John is an ideal fit for the position,” said Planning Division Manager Bret Rasegan. “He has experience at both ends of the spectrum, as both a downtown manager applying the Main Street approach and at the program coordinator level providing technical assistance to local downtowns.”
MSOC is one of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s most successful economic development initiatives. In 2015, member communities generated $38 million of new investment, created 31 businesses and 214 full-time jobs. Since 2001, total public and private investment is more than $706 million, 971 new businesses were opened and nearly 7,100 jobs created.
Main Street Oakland County is comprised of 22 communities: Birmingham, Clarkston, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Groveland Township, Hazel Park, Highland, Holly, Holly Township, Lake Orion, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, Village of Leonard, Walled Lake, Waterford and Wixom. Main Street is a trademarked program of the National Main Street Center. For other communities interested in the program, visit MainStreetOaklandCounty.com.