McCoury heading to Roanoke

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 21, 2005

The star player of Suffolk’s downtown renaissance is heading to the Star City.

Elizabeth L. McCoury, the city’s downtown development director for the past seven years, has been tapped as the city of Roanoke’s economic development administrator. She begins on Aug. 1.

McCoury, who will be heading a seven-person economic development team in Roanoke, says she is looking forward to the move.

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&uot;I’m ready for a new challenge,&uot; said McCoury. She is moving with her husband, Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. H.G. &uot;Jake&uot; McCoury Jr., who accepted a promotion in the department’s Bedford office last spring, and their sons.

Downtown Suffolk has seen considerable growth since McCoury came to the city from Portsmouth. In recent years, she has been instrumental in pulling new eateries, businesses and professional offices into downtown: Baron’s Pub, Pisces Seafood, the soon-to-be-opening Main Street Jazz Club and Heirlooms of Tomorrow, to name a few.

McCoury’s departure will be a huge loss for the city’s thriving downtown community, local entrepreneurs said.

&uot;She is the person we went to with our idea for a jazz club…and she helped us make all the right moves to get things rolling,&uot; said Horace Balmer, who is opening Main Street this fall.

&uot;She is more than a city employee. She is a friend to everybody who is trying to develop Suffolk’s downtown,&uot; he said. &uot;She is just great.&uot;

Andy Damiani, president of the Downtown Business Association, agreed.

&uot;Elizabeth is going to be difficult to replace,&uot; he said. &uot;She has a good rapport with people and she knows how to get things done.

&uot;Roanoke is fortunate to be getting her. I think she will do well there.&uot;

McCoury says there is much she will miss about Suffolk.

&uot;There are so many dedicated volunteers here, like Betsy Brother and Sue Woodward,&uot; she said &uot;And I’ll miss seeing some of the projects like the jazz club brought to fruition.&uot;

It’s been particularly rewarding to see people coming downtown again, McCoury added.

&uot;There is an energy, an enthusiasm downtown that wasn’t here before,&uot; she said. &uot;I’m seeing people who once told me they would never again go downtown for dinner eating at Pisces or Kelly’s on the weekends.

&uot;It’s great.&uot;