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Prince of planning stepping down

Morelli was Bethlehem’s point man on major developments for past eight years

Bethlehem Economic Development and Planning Director Mike Morelli is set to retire on Friday, June 28, after eight years with the town. Bethlehem officials are now seeking applicants to fill his position.

Bethlehem Economic Development and Planning Director Mike Morelli is set to retire on Friday, June 28, after eight years with the town. Bethlehem officials are now seeking applicants to fill his position. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— The Town of Bethlehem is looking for a new director of economic development and planning, as Mike Morelli approaches his retirement date at the end of this week.

Morelli has worked for the town for eight years and has spent his entire 33-year career in the public sector. He is set to retire on Friday, June 28.

“I’ve worked for a county, city, state and town,” he said. “I joke that I should find a village to work for first to round out my resume.”

Morelli said his career has been very rewarding, but has opted to retire to help his wife with a new health and wellness business she started out of their home.

“I’ve done this my whole life and it’s time to pursue other interests,” he said.

Over the past eight years, Morelli has played a key role in the development of major projects in the town, and there are a number in the pipeline he will pass the torch on. He could have retired two years ago, but decided to wait a few years because he wanted to see the Vista Technology Campus go “from a vision to reality.”

“I had some goals and I knew we were really close to construction of Vista,” he said. “So I thought, why not go a few more rounds and help get it off the ground?”

Morelli said Vista is one of the largest projects he’s ever worked on and he’s pleased with the way it is unfolding. He is happy that the infrastructure is in place and he saw businesses open before his time with the town was over.

He said it will take years before Vista is fully spaced out because there’s fierce competition to attract tech companies from similar campuses in the area. But the site is now shovel ready and open for business. With most of the secondary use space now claimed by retail businesses, medical facilities and banks, the rest of the space will be filled by tech companies over time.

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