By Kevin Kelley
Chris Bauer, the city’s economic development manager, has left to take a job with the state of New York. His last day was Thursday.
In his new Buffalo-based job as coordinator in the state’s Office of Communities and Waterfronts, Bauer will assist cities plan the redevelopment of brownfields, abandoned industrial land containing environmental contamination.
In taking the position, Bauer is following his wife, Cindy, who took a job in the Buffalo area two years ago. The couple has maintained a long-distance marriage since, with their two children living with their mother.
Although Bauer has been looking for a job in the Buffalo area since then, he said he has been selective because he enjoyed working for Westlake so much.
“It’s hard to leave,” Bauer said at a brief midday reception city employees organized for him May 9. “You have a great organization here.”
Finance Director Prashant Shah had the best line during the employee reception, telling Bauer, “If you wife doesn’t take you back, we will.”
Planning and economic development Director Bob Parry said Bauer was instrumental in three major projects – the decision by American Greetings to move its headquarters to Crocker Park, the implementation of a job retention tax credit and the tax abatement agreement by which Nordson Corp. kept its headquarters in Westlake.
Asked what was unique about Westlake from his professional perspective, Bauer told West Life that the city has been careful about sticking to its code and planning strategy. He also said the city has a great relationship with the business community.
When the position of economic development manager was created in 2008, Mayor Dennis Clough said the individual’s responsibilities would be to retain employment in Westlake and develop strong relationships between City Hall and businesses.
Clough told West Life that the city intends to fill the vacancy left by Bauer’s departure. Bauer held the third-highest ranking position in the Planning and Economic Development Department.
Bauer, the first to hold the position, was hired in July 2008. He previously worked as associate planner for the city of Lorain.
Bauer received his bachelor’s degree in earth sciences from Central Michigan University. His minor fields of study in geography got him interested in planning, he told West Life. He later earned a master’s degree in geography and planning from The University of Akron.