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Mary George and two of her grandchildren

A lifelong resident of the Olean area, Mary George graduated from Allegany Central School in 1975. As a young mom, she continued her education at Olean Business Institute and in 1997 received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Organizational Management from Houghton College.

In 1984, Mary began her career working for the City of Olean in the Department of Community Development. The disadvantages of implementing urban renewal strategies to Olean’s urban core in the ‘60s and ‘70s were already apparent – historic buildings were demolished and transformed into downtown parking lots, residents were forcibly relocated, and properties left vacant with no planned end use. It has taken decades to reverse the apparent failure of the concept of urban renewal; however, with the support of strong business community voices, engaging residents and public sector partners, Olean’s former blighted properties and underutilized areas are being transformed into fun and visually pleasing community amenities – place-making projects like Walkable Olean, the Farmers’ Market, pocket parks, outdoor dining, and quality housing – public gathering spaces that draw people downtown and attract new businesses and workers. Mary has enjoyed being a small part of this community renewal effort, and looks forward to Olean’s continued revitalization.

Mary has 3 children and 4 ½ grandchildren. She enjoys spending her spare time playing golf, reading, hiking, and kayaking. Mary, her partner Bill, and her golden doodle Moriss plan to travel West in their motorhome next year to visit family and friends.