By Chris Hagan
Review Staff Writer
The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has a new executive director and she has no intention of slowing down Lake Orion’s creative momentum.
The Village Council approved the appointment of Molly LaLone at their May 23 meeting and she had her first day on Tuesday following Memorial Day.
LaLone previously spent eight and a half years as the DDA director for Ortonville and when former Lake Orion DDA executive director, Suzanne Perrault stepped down, she was eager to apply.
“Downtown management is kind of a small community. There aren’t very many jobs and this is my passion,” she said. “It was time for me to move on to maybe a bit busier and a bit larger community.”
Born in Seattle, LaLone saw much of the country at an early age. Her father worked and was promoted within General Motors and her family would move because with promotion came relocation. She lived throughout Washington state, Idaho, California, and then to Michigan in her senior year of high school. She then attended Central Michigan University.
She received her degree from CMU in commercial recreation which specializes in hotel and resort management. She worked for Courtyard by Marriot after college and after getting married and starting a family she was no longer happy in that career field. She took a break from the world of hotel management and took the job as DDA director for Ortonville in 2007.
One thing she’d like to get going right away in downtown Lake Orion is getting the Paint Creek Trail connector project off the ground. The connector would take people from the end of the Paint Creek Trail, which sits behind Stockyard Restaurant, through the Lake Orion Lumber property and into the downtown area through Children’s Park.
“I love this idea. Anderson Street and the houses there are very pretty and the hope is that eventually we’ll be able to connect with the Polly Ann Trail and that’ll all become part of the Iron Belle Trail,” she said.
The Iron Belle Trail is a statewide trail project composed of two trail systems, a biking and hiking trail. Both trails will connect Ironwood, a small city in the most western point of the Upper Peninsula, to Belle Isle in Detroit.
LaLone said that Downtown management is her passion because there so many different entities involved and when those business owners, residents, customers and community leaders come together the result, she said, can have a lasting and positive impact on the community. She recognizes the growth of the area a whole and wants to take that growth in a direction that will continue to improve and generate economic vitality.
“I love working with the business owners and the property owners and the residents to create a thriving community and I believe the downtown is the heart of the community,” LaLone said. “The healthier and more thriving the downtown is, the better the community is as a whole.”
By Chris Hagan