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Nick Wilkinson

Chattanooga native Nick Wilkinson will be leaving his job in the city's Economic Development department to become the director of development of the Tivoli Foundation.

Wilkinson, now deputy administrator of economic development, will be in charge of "fund-and-friend-raising and partnership development" for the Tivoli and Memorial Auditorium, according to Tivoli Foundation board chairman Keith Sanford.

AC Entertainment in Knoxville, which was contracted in 2016 to manage and book shows in the facilities, will continue in that role. Wilkinson will begin his new position on Jan. 3. The Tivoli Foundation itself employs one full-time employee (Wilkinson) and a part-time bookkeeper.

The Tivoli Foundation was created in 2015 by Mayor Andy Burke to oversee the city-owned facilities. Though it no longer manages the venues, it provides $1 million in capital each year.

As part of the financial commitment, $750,000 was earmarked for operating expenses and the rest as capital for producing events for the first two years. Those numbers will shift to a 50-50 split at the end of the fiscal year in June, according to Sanford.

Sanford said while the Tivoli in particular has had a successful year revenue-wise with sold-out shows by Bob Dylan and My Morning Jacket, for example, it is still expensive to operate and maintain.

An increase in capital would allow the foundation to replace "the cool stuff like carpets and bathrooms."

Wilkinson said he grew up attending shows at both venues and looks forward to being a part of the next phase of growth for both the venues and the city.

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at bcourter @timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

This story was updated Dec. 20 at 10:40 p.m.

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