Downtown Helena director resigns, cites struggles with city

Nolan Lister

Downtown Helena Inc.’s operations director announced her resignation in an email to the organization’s membership Thursday, citing understaffing, prohibitive city regulations and dismissive city staff.

“Perhaps I was naïve, but when I accepted this position, I did not know how much time and effort I would be required to spend on disputes and fraught negotiations with the City of Helena,” Jordan Conley says in the letter. “It never occurred to me that they would be anything but supportive of an organization dedicated to the vibrancy and vitality of downtown.”

She said the organization will likely cancel 2024’s Parade of Lights and that the upcoming season of Alive at Five will likely be the last as a result of the turmoil.

The letter states the Helena City Commission’s recently approved changes to city code pertaining to events and permitting are “opaque” and “becoming prohibitive.”

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Conley, who had been with Downtown Helena for nearly two years, also says city staff cannot provide a definitive answer to legitimate questions such as the walking mall’s designation as a park or city right-of-way.

“I have been warned repeatedly that many of

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