MVEDD’s Anthony Marris-Swann works with communities one person at a time.
When the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District (MVEDD) was awarded the USDA Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC), the team knew there would be lots of great opportunities working with each of the four communities of Minden, Fort Plain, Palatine Bridge and Nelliston.
As the project lead for the RPIC program that benefits local communities, Anthony Marris-Swann finds himself out in the communities of western Montgomery County a lot–and he loves it!
You may see Anthony out in the villages getting to know folks whether he’s at the Fort Plain Free Library or Highwheeler Coffee–if you see him, stop by and say hello! No matter where he is, Anthony is focused on the people and communities he visits. His goal is to meet with residents and learn more about the public spaces available in addition to what community members would like to see or create. Public spaces are where residents and visitors alike can gather for community events or for some outdoor fun. Favorite places and spaces may include community parks, walking trails and areas along the Mohawk River.
Anthony Marris-Swann grew up in the Village of Oriskany Falls in Southwestern Oneida County. He took an early interest in how communities are put together, noticing the ways that streets, buildings, public spaces, and the natural environment influence people who live in them. After high school, he saved up money working at a local nursing home, and traveled to India on his 18th birthday. He spent the next year exploring many different kinds of places around South and Southeast Asia, and when his money was just about gone, he landed in Seattle, Washington.
There he got his first cooking job in an Indian restaurant, setting him on a career path he’d follow for more than a decade. After returning to Central New York a few years later, he decided to make a change and pursue a career in Community Planning. Back on the West Coast, he graduated from the University of Washington in 2018 and began working in Economic Development in a small city outside Seattle. There he discovered a deeper appreciation for high quality public spaces, and their ability to improve a community’s quality of life while growing its wealth.
In 2022 Anthony joined the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District, a non-profit focused on promoting economic growth and community resiliency throughout the Mohawk Valley.
His job there is to work with local governments, businesses, and organizations to help them reach their highest potential. In Montgomery County, he’s working with local leaders to find opportunities to improve public spaces in ways that reflect the community’s identity. He lives in Utica with his wife Sarah and their big fluffy dog Edina.