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      Executive Director of DDA dies of heart attack

      The man who served as Executive Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority for the past 23 years died this past weekend.

      Bryan Crough suffered a massive heart attack and died Sunday night, according to City Manager Ben Bifoss.

      "It will take me a while to get my head around the idea that the man who built downtown Traverse City is no longer with us," Bifoss said.

      Crough led the DDA since 1990 when he was recruited while serving as a City Commissioner. He is credited as a champion for the City Opera House, State Theatre, the History Center, parking decks, and many other projects, especially those having to do with the arts. Most recently, Crough worked to raise funding for improvements at Clinch Park.

      "His tireless enthusiasm and love for downtown helped see through the clear vision he had for a vibrant and livable downtown," said Rob Bacigalupi, deputy director of the DDA, in a press conference this afternoon.

      Bryan Crough served as the Executive Director and Community Development Director for the DDA and, in 2005, was awarded the Lyle DeYoung Downtown Achievement award for making "a significant contribution to the vitality of the downtown area."

      "He was never too busy to find humor in the frenetic environment here at the office," Bacigalupi said.

      A ribbon cutting for Crough's most recent project, the Clinch Park renovations, will take place next week. DDA officials say while he will not be in attendance, but they will "surely celebrate him and the wonderful legacy he left us all."

      Before stepping into the Executive Director position at the DDA, Crough served as Traverse City's mayor from 1988-1989.