Kasey Blesh tapped as new downtown manager

Kasey Blesh

LOCK HAVEN — The Downtown Lock Haven Inc. Board of Directors bid farewell to the non-profit organization’s manager and also hired her replacement Tuesday morning.

Kasey Blesh will replace Downtown Manager Natasha Gorham, starting in a matter of days.

Gorham leaves after this week to become administrative assistant of the North Central District AIDS Coalition, with its office in Mill Hall.

She was feted with a cake and a farewell lunch.

And at the board meeting Tuesday, board member Bob Rolley, a past president, presented her with an attractive glass plaque from the board, inscribed with the organization’s logo, Gorham’s name and the year, as well as the words “Honored for outstanding service to Downtown Lock Haven Inc.”

WENDY STIVER/THE EXPRESS Downtown Manager Natasha Gorham, center, holds a plaque she received in honor of her four years spent in the position. The Downtown Lock Haven Inc. Board of Directors presented her with the plaque and a cake after accepting her resignation Tuesday morning. From left are board members Rachel Harkey, Amanda Keiffer, Board President Jeff Miller, Gorham, board member Bob Rolley, Bonnie Gradel who is the new AmeriCorps worker in the Downtown office, Steve Stevenson of Lock Haven City Council, and board member Steve Getz.

A tearful Gorham thanked the board and said, “I’m really emotionally tied to this program.”

She has served as downtown manager for four years.

At the same meeting, Blesh had her second interview for the position and, after some brief deliberation, was hired via a unanimous vote.

She worked for more than three years for the Lock Haven University Foundation, becoming coordinator of alumni relations.

Blesh also coordinated the foundation’s phone-athon.

Her skills at fundraising, team-building, and motivation should stand her in good stead as downtown manager, the executive committee said in recommending Blesh.

A former student athlete at LHU, she earned a bachelor of science in recreation management in 2012 from the university.

A resident of Lock Haven, she is a civilian member of Team RWB, an active Millbrook Playhouse board member, and the Great Island Adventure Triathlon awards coordinator.

The board also met Bonnie Gradel, the new AmeriCorps worker at the Downtown Lock Haven Inc. office at 205 E. Main St.

Gradel has lived here for about two years, she said, and previously spent 41 years in upstate New York, hailing from Endicott, near Binghamton.

“It’s just amazing down here,” she said. “I come from a small town in New York, and they don’t do half of what you do. You should be very proud.”

Gorham leaves on a high note, with the new round of Hometown Hero streetlight banners having just gone up.

Most of the banners in the downtown are already up, she said, and the ones along the top of the levee walk should be hung by the end of this week.

Ten banners had to be corrected, and they should arrive in about two weeks, she added.

With all the money collected, the Hometown Hero Program raised $20,348 for the nonprofit Downtown Lock Haven.

Board member Krisy Meeker, a supporter of the program from its start, was particularly thanked for her work on the banners this year.

Downtown Lock Haven is a self-sustaining, 501(c)3 agency that works with community partners to revitalize the Main Street district through community and economic development programs.