PORTAGE PARK — The executive director of the Six Corners Association — who helped bring new life to the once-glamorous shopping district — has stepped down to pursue a career in journalism, officials said.
Ed Bannon is a "huge part" of why 20 new business opened at Six Corners in 2014, Ald. John Arena (45th) said.
"There are few people who have worked harder for our community," Arena said.
Bannon helped set up Six Corners' 10-year-old Special Service Area, which levies a tax on businesses to pay for economic development initiatives such as beautification projects and marketing efforts, and shepherded its 15-year renewal by area businesses in 2014.
"The organization has reached a new stage, with real momentum being built," Bannon said. "It is exciting to be going back to my first love of writing and editing."
Six Corners Association President Gale Fabisch said Bannon would be missed and his replacement would have big shoes to fill.
"He did a fine job," Fabisch said. "We wish him well."
Bannon, a Dunning resident, said the response to his departure was gratifying.
Bannon said he was proud that the effort to attract businesses to Six Corners is getting easier, as new businesses start to thrive.
Kelli Wefenstette, the business association's assistant program manager, will take over Bannon's duties and is the "front runner" to replace him in September, when the association is due to name a new director, Fabisch said.
Bannon said he had recommended that Wefenstette, a Portage Park resident, replace him as the head of the organization that acts as the chamber of commerce for the businesses near Irving Park Road and Cicero and Milwaukee avenues.
The association has been working to transform Six Corners, once the premier shopping district outside the Loop, into an arts and culture mecca in an effort to reverse decades of decline and to fill empty storefronts.
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