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Cottage Grove's economic development director resigns

The city of Cottage Grove's recently hired economic development director is set to leave her position at the end of the week, citing a desire to spend more time with her family.

Danette Parr, hired in June to lead the city's commercial and residential development efforts, told city officials last week she would step down from her staff director's position at Cottage Grove City Hall.

A married mother of two, Parr said in an interview that demanding hours were cutting too deeply into family time, a situation she didn't feel was tenable much longer.

Parr said she will assume a part-time planning role in Prior Lake, the city where she left an economic development director position for Cottage Grove.

"Unfortunately, with a young family I don't have the time necessary to commit to [the job] to the degree necessary," Parr said.

City officials interviewed said they sympathized with Parr's decision to leave but all said they are sad to see her go.

"Huge [disappointment] is the word I think I'd use," City Administrator Ryan Schroeder said. "She has what we were looking for ... We were thrilled to be able to attract her here and we're very disappointed she is leaving."

Parr started in her position at Cottage Grove City Hall on June 1. She replaced former Community Development Director Howard Blin, who left the city in January when city officials decided to shift the staff director post dramatically toward economic development.

Parr "stuck out" during the interview process, Mayor Myron Bailey said, because of her "great energy and enthusiasm." The City Council voted to offer her the job following an initial round of interviews.

"I tried to talk her out of it because she's been a breath of fresh air," Bailey said. "She's doing what's right for her family, which is understandable."

In just over three months in Cottage Grove, Parr said she saw a city with plenty of potential to grow. Her exit, she said, isn't about the city or its leadership.

"I think, long-term, it will be a good thing for the city and a good thing for me," she said.

Schroeder said interviews for Parr's replacement could begin as early as late September. The goal is to hire a new economic development official in October.

"She's top-shelf talent and will be missed," said City Council member Justin Olsen, the council liaison to the Economic Development Authority.