TICONDEROGA — Former Ticonderoga businesswoman Chattie Van Wert had been picked as the new leader of the Ticonderoga Revitalization Alliance.
Although she replaces J. Justin Woods, who left earlier this month, she won’t have his title of president and chief executive officer, she said.
“My title will be director, and it’s effective immediately. The job is being redefined.”
She also won’t make his $90,000-a-year salary but said pay details are still being worked out.
“Money is still a consideration. The change (in leadership) was prompted by personal reasons on Justin’s part, as well as financial reasons.”
Woods announced on Aug. 6 that he was leaving, citing financial woes at the alliance. He said at the time the alliance had less than $20,000 in its treasury.
The alliance has applied for three project grants that it hopes will replenish its finances.
“We have to define what we can accomplish,” Van Wert said. “There won’t be any other staff. We have some projects out there. If funding comes through, we have needs. For right now, I’m it.”
She holds an associate’s degree in data processing from SUNY Canton and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from SUNY Albany.
After a successful 15-year career in information technology, she and her late husband, Jeff, operated several businesses in Ticonderoga.
Their first business was the Ranchouse motel at Baldwin on the north end of Lake George, where they lived and raised two sons, Ben and Gerrit.
They then purchased Sunshine Laundry and Sunshine Corner Apartments in 1992 and Sunshine Car Wash in 2004.
Jeff passed away in 2008, and she sold the car wash that year and the laundry and apartment building in 2011.
Van Wert has been a member of the Ticonderoga Area Chamber of Commerce, is involved in organizing the annual Streetfest celebration and serves on the Inter-Lakes Health Board of Directors as treasurer and chair of the Quality Improvement Committee.
She is also a member of St. Mary’s Parish Finance Council and chair for the parish’s recent Summer Festival dinner and auction fundraiser.
“Not ready to retire after selling the downtown Ticonderoga businesses, I pursued employment opportunities with the thought that my ideal job would be one that helps the Ticonderoga community, especially downtown,” Van Wert said.
“When I was invited to join the Ti Alliance Board of Directors last spring, I was excited to become involved in an organization that could have a very positive impact on the local economy.”
Now she’s resigned from the board to become the head of the group, she said.
“I didn’t anticipate it would turn into my ideal job. We have our challenges (in Ticonderoga), but we also have so much that other communities just don’t have.”
She said Ticonderoga’s proximity to Lake George and Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks and Green Mountains “provides a quality of life that attracts thousands of visitors each year. We have internationally known Fort Ticonderoga bringing our local history to life.
“North Country Community College (Ticonderoga campus) continues to offer new curriculum and wants to work with our community in mutually supportive capacities. With Inter-Lakes Health, we are part of a progressive health-care system right here in our town.”
Right now, the alliance is working with investors to develop some key downtown buildings, Van Wert said, for cultural activities to bring artists, artisans and regional visitors together downtown.
She said the alliance will still run its downtown mural contest, with applications due by Aug. 24, and available from ticonderoga-alliance.org.
Whether the alliance will retain its Montcalm Street offices is unknown right now, she said, but if it does, the group’s new Downtown Gallery may move in with them.