Sam Powers takes on Civic Center

In an announcement late Friday afternoon, the City of Asheville announced that the directorship of the Civic Center would fall to Economic Development Director Sam Powers.

The city has been undergoing a national search for a new Civic Center director since the departure of Sherman Bass in June. Bass held the position for nearly a year and a half before taking a directorship in his home town of Amarillo, Texas.

In an interview with Xpress on Monday, Nov. 16, Powers said the combining of the two offices makes sense.

“If you think of the Civic Center and our local and regional economic-development plan, there’s a really natural connectivity,” he said, adding that the current belt-tightening within the city added to the decision. “With the current economic climate we are in, it made sense to look within instead of bringing someone from outside the organization.”

Powers said his role would likely be defined by external operations that focus on economic development rather than day-to-day operations of the venue. That could include discussions with the Tourism Development Authority, with whom the City Council is at odds regarding an additional allocation of hotel room tax for Civic Center improvements, or coordination with the group pushing for the construction of a new performance center in the city.

Regular operations, he said, will fall to the center’s Operations Manager Dan Dover, who served as interim director since Bass’ departure, and his staff.

“There’s a core staff at the Civic Center right now who understands the operations [there],” Powers said. “As long as we’ve got good folks like that who are engaged, that allows me to concentrate perhaps more on external issues that are inherently tied with the Civic Center.”

Powers will also become the point person for updates to Council regarding its ongoing Civic Center capital-improvement plan.

Brian Postelle, staff writer

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