CLARION - For Clarion Mayor Dan Parker, a job "opportunity" came knocking from New Jersey, so he answered.
On Tuesday night, Clarion Borough Council accepted Parker's resignation, effective Monday, and unanimously approved the appointment of Bill Miller to fill the position.
Miller, the former diving coach at Clarion University, has been the owner of Clarion Bed and Breakfast since 1992.
"That is where I live (for now), so I guess you could say we are keeping it in the neighborhood," Parker said.
Parker was appointed mayor in December 2016 to complete the term of Dave Walter. Parker was elected to a full term in 2017.
"I loved every minute of being Clarion's mayor," Parker said. "Clarion is a wonderful community."
He pointed to working with the Clarion Police Department as a proud aspect of his job.
"We were able to recruit some nice young officers and we were able to promote Bill Peck as the chief," Parker said. "Bill has been doing a great job working to keep the illegal drug activity out of the area. I am proud that I had a hand in making sure he was the chief.
He said the borough's "biggest challenge" moving forward is economic development.
"We have a changing economy, and we will not be competitive unless the borough and the community work together to meet those challenges," he said.
"It is going to take some investments in infrastructure and it will take some creative thinking. I think Clarion's best days are ahead. We just need to work hard to do it."
He called the stormwater committee "a great thing," but said "a lot of people misunderstood it at first, but I think they will see the benefit of it and come to appreciate it."
Along with his hope that Clarion will commit resources to develop broadband, Parker believes the borough should also develop the Toby boat launch.
"The more we put down there, the more amenities we have and that means more tourism," he said.
Parker recently addressed blight.
"We need to focus on blight from the county all the way to the local government level," he said. "It is hard to get people involved with your community when they see run-down properties."
Parker suggested incentivizing residents to clean up their properties.
"We need a way to clean up those properties and put them back on the tax roles," he said. "It would be more like a land bank than eminent domain."
Parker said just because a property is run down "it is not valueless," and an incentive could be a faade improvement grant or a revolving micro-loan fund.
In addition to resigning as mayor, he is also leaving his position as executive director of the Clarion Free Library after eight years. He is leaving Clarion to become executive director of the Ringwood Public Library in Ringwood Borough, Passaic County, New Jersey.
"It seemed like a good opportunity, so I took it," Parker said. "I feel like I have done some good work at the Clarion Library. I am very proud of what I have done there. I just felt it was time for me to go."