Cecilia CassidyThe Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) has chosen an experienced Arlington business district leader to serve as CPRO’s new Executive Director.

Cecilia Cassidy, retired executive director of the Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID), has been serving as CPRO’s interim executive director since February.  She succeeds Takis Karantonis, who resigned the post in January after five years of service to the community. Her official start date is July 1.

“Cecilia not only has the experience to maintain our programs and fulfill our obligations, but is also a resident of the Columbia Pike community,” said John Murphy, president of Washington Workplace, who is chairman of the CPRO board of directors. “We are lucky to have her join us on a permanent basis.”

Cassidy, who retired from the Rosslyn BID in 2013, was chosen by CPRO’s board from a group of 60 applicants. For twenty years she had led Rosslyn Renaissance, one of Arlington’s four public/private partnerships, and was instrumental in the creation of Arlington’s first BID, in Rosslyn, which began operations in 2003. Cassidy continued to lead both organizations, overseeing a $4 million budget, until her retirement.

Previously, her career combined writing and editorial work with housing advocacy. She served as Publications Editor for James Rouse’s Enterprise Foundation (now Enterprise Community Partners) and Community Relations Director for Arlington Housing Corporation (now AHC, Inc.).  Her community work began when she served as president of the Arlington Village Tenants Association during a condo conversion in the 1980’s, and worked in cooperation with Arlington County to establish the first limited-equity housing co-op in the state of Virginia.

Soon after her retirement, Cassidy was named a 2014 Fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), and was also named to the board of directors of Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH).  She is a member of the Leadership Arlington Class of 2000, and holds a B.A. in English and Journalism from the College of White Plains of Pace University.

Cassidy will be responsible for ensuring CPRO’s continuity and visibility with Columbia Pike businesses and residents, and with Arlington County officials.  Her first order of business is to develop a three-year strategic plan that will enable CPRO to continue as a viable and vibrant organization.

“As a longtime resident of Arlington Village, I have watched the Pike grow and change dramatically,” said Cassidy. “For the past 20 years, I’ve also been professionally affiliated with CPRO’s executive directors in my own roles at Rosslyn Renaissance and the Rosslyn BID. Now I’m looking forward to working directly with Pike residents and businesses to make Arlington’s newest and oldest Main Street the best it can be.”