Echeverria Leaving Economic Development Director Post in Kennett
By Steven Hoffman
Historic Kennett Square announced the departure of Nate Echeverria, Kennett’s first-ever economic development director, on Monday.
Echeverria is leaving Kennett to take a position as a senior planner in the city of Key West, where he’ll be working on a variety of climate change adaptation and economic development projects.
Echeverria was hired thee years ago to lead the newly created Office of Economic Development. In 2016, Kennett Township, the Borough of Kennett Square, and Historic Kennett Square boosted thier collaboration, first by commissioning a Kennett Region Economic Development Study, and then by enacting some of the recommendations in that study.
Echeverria was instrumental in laying the groundwork that allowed the borough and township to apply for a $1.4 million grant to improve the infrastructure on Birch Street. While improving the Birch Street infrastructure is a long-term goal, Echeverria has also worked on many projects with more tangible, short-term outcomes.
“Finding a tenant for the long-vacant historic building at 120 East State Street is one project we’re really proud of,” Echeverria said. “Work2gether moving into that long-vacant building, and also Café de Thai taking over the former Kennett Pizza space, are good case studies that illustrate the value of the Historic Kennett Square Office of Economic Development. We helped find great tenants for both of those spaces, but we also helped both businesses navigate the process of opening their businesses here and secure financing through the Revolving Loan Fund.”
The Borough’s Revolving Loan Fund, which Echeverria has managed, helps to attract new businesses, allows existing businesses to grow and, most recently, has been used to help businesses survive the impact of the pandemic.
Bo Wright, the executive director of Historic Kennett Square, said that the position that Echeverria has filled for the past three years is unique because it enables both of the local municipalities to think more broadly and strategically about implementing long-range plans that will benefit the area as a whole.
“We’re fortunate to have forward-thinking, collaborative, and engaged leadership at the municipal level,” Wright said. “We’ve also been really lucky to have had Nate here during these critical years in the area’s development. He’s brought not only experience and expertise, but also a thoughtful approach and heartfelt desire to help small businesses succeed. We will miss him tremendously, but we’re looking forward to what his successor will be able to accomplish because of the groundwork Nate has done.”