The Downtown Partnership announced yesterday that it has elected a new chairman - James L. Shea, managing partner of the downtown law firm, Venable, Baetjer and Howard.
Shea replaces Frank P. Bramble, chairman of Allfirst Financial Inc. The partnership strives to improve and market the city's central business district.
"I think the Downtown Partnership is well-positioned with a dynamic administration in City Hall to really tackle two major and very much related issues," Shea said.
"One is the economic development of the downtown district, East and West sides, and the North Central corridor up Charles Street. And the other is the issue of grime in the overall business district. Improvement of the streets and sidewalks is of real importance."
Shea said the issues are not new, and he intends to build on what's already been done.
Shea became a Downtown Partnership board member in 1999 and serves on several other local boards.
That commitment to the city, leadership skills and knowledge of stubborn urban troubles make him well suited for the position, said Michele Whelley, the partnership's president.
"Jim Shea brings tremendous experience and prestige to the table," she said in a statement. "As one of our most respected business and civic leaders, he speaks with great personal knowledge and authority on issues such as parking, economic development, public safety, the special needs of tech firms and other matters critical to the local business community."