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1109 citymanager

Daniel Ainslie made his way from Merced, Calif., to take the role of city manager in Sturgis. (Amanda Friar/MCTT staff)

STURGIS - With a goal of helping to revitalize the downtown and keeping more of the financial benefits of the Sturgis motorcycle rally in the community, the new city manager of Sturgis took office this week.

Daniel Ainslie, who was the development manager for the city of Merced, Calif., started the job on Monday by immediately hitting the streets and reaching out to Sturgis residents.

“I’ve been starting to meet the people in the community and hear all of their dreams and aspirations,” he said. “I’m starting to learn more about the rally. I am impressed with the tremendously high confidence level and professionalism of the city staff here.”

Ainslie replaces David Boone, who resigned in April after being found guilty of insurance fraud. He also was the first city manager for Sturgis.

Ainslie, who was born in Lemmon, said he had been to the Sturgis motorcycle rally twice before he applied for the job and liked what he saw back then.

“There is a lot of potential that this city has with a rally like that,” he said. “I am seeing how we can leverage the name Sturgis and the rally so that there are larger benefits for the citizens. As a staff, we’re discussing how we can leverage more benefits out of the rally for the residents.”

Ainslie said Sturgis has a lot of potential for growth because the name of the community has national recognition.

“Professionally, it’s nice to come to a place with the possibility of development, and it’s nice to see the potential here,” he said. “They have a great vision for what they want for themselves with their comprehensive plan.”

Ainslie’s other primary goal is to work on the revitalization of the entire downtown area. 

“There are challenges, but they can be transformational for the city,” said Ainslie, adding that other road, commercial and industrial projects will require his attention, as well.

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“There’s a vying interest in the community to try and make sure everything, as a whole, is the greatest benefit to the community,” he said.

While working as the development manager in Merced, a central California city of 79,000, Ainslie worked on projects that included a $10 million public parking structure, the restoration of the historic Merced Theater and the development of a 14-unit craftsman-style housing development.

Ainslie starts his new job while a petition to change the city manager form of government is being circulated. He said, however, that he hopes the residents of Sturgis will give him a chance before deciding on the fate of their form of city government.

 “There is uncertainty in any level of government,” he said. “People are anxious of turmoil in the government right now, and they have a right to petition the government. I just hope they see the benefit to this form of government and continuity, but it’s their complete freedom to petition.”


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