Peg Ellsworth named MARK Group director
Peg Ellsworth, Roxbury’s community resources director, has been named executive director of the MARK Group, said MARK Board President Ernest Steiglehner on Friday.
“It was a consensus decision for all of us on the search committee and affirmed unanimously by our board,” said Steiglehner. “Peg has great experience working with communities. What really sold us was her detailed plan for how to move the organization forward in the next six months and how to interact closely with all the communities we serve, because that community work is MARK’s strong suit and central to our mission.”
“We at MARK are excited that we were able to secure Peg’s talents, energy and enthusiasm as we enter a new period of challenges and development in our expanding area,” said search committee and the MARK Board member JR Lawrence.
Ellsworth’s community involvement in Roxbury began in 1999, when she was hired as a consultant on a parks restoration project. By that time, the once glorious Gould-Shepard grounds known as Kirkside Park had been deeded to the town but had long been neglected. Ellsworth led the community restoration work, and the elegant 11-acre landscape became a hub of community activity again. Ellsworth helped found a vintage base ball team, the Roxbury Nine, to play in the park’s restored ball field as well as an annual Labor Day “Turn of the Century” festival, now in its ninth year. Through grant funds and county youth employment agencies, she has employed Roxbury students on everything from park landscaping and historical hamlet tours to town research and event planning.
In 2003, the entire hamlet was listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and in 2005, as a result of its creative heritage tourism programs, Roxbury garnered the prestigious “Preserve America Community” designation from the White House, a distinction which made the town eligible for an exclusive round of competitive grants. Ellsworth has obtained more than $150,000 in Preserve America and local foundation funding for Roxbury’s heritage tourism in the past three years.
As a grant writer, Ellsworth has garnered millions in funding over the past decade for such varied community endeavors as sidewalks, after school programs, Main Street facelifts and housing assistance for both Roxbury and Grand Gorge. Prior to her work with the Town of Roxbury, Ellsworth worked at The Roxbury Arts Group, side by side with founder Nancy Harding where, among other initiatives, she helped create the popular October “Fiddlers” event.
The expansion of the MARK Group mission to serve the entire area rather than a specific locale is a gestalt playing out across this area of the Catskills, as more and more organizations and leaders think beyond the boundaries of their villages to reach for regional collaboration.
“This is truly the time to ‘act locally, think regionally’ as we all move into a new, challenging economic terrain and an ever evolving business landscape. To mangle Ben Franklin, we must all move ahead into that territory together or surely we’ll all hang together,” said Ellsworth.”
Colleagues in Roxbury were effusive, while hopeful that the “Ellsworth Effect” would remain in force: “Peg has performed wonders for the town of Roxbury,” said Greg Henderson, one of The Roxbury Motel proprietors, adding, “I’m thrilled that more of our Catskill communities will benefit from her skill. And if I know Peg, she will now find even more ways to help Roxbury while working her magic on its neighbors,” he added.