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RiverQuarium CEO steps down to take Delaware job

ALBANY, Ga. -- The head of the Flint RiverQuarium will step down from his post and accept a position as CEO of the Delaware Historical Society.

Scott Loehr, who has been the executive director and CEO of the Flint RiverQuarium since 2006, said Tuesday his decision to accept the position in Delaware was a tough one, but the position, which delves more into his first love, was too good to pass up.

"Most of my professional experience has been with historical organizations; they have always been my first love," Loehr said. "But this truly was an agonizing decision. Deborah (his wife) and I have enjoyed our time here and established wonderful friendships."

Loehr presented his letter of resignation to the RiverQuarium board of directors Monday. His final day will be Feb. 25.

Loehr said he will work with the board and the transition team to ensure they have they the help and expertise needed to have a smooth transition to new leadership.

During his tenure as the head of the RiverQuarium, the facility has grown to include an aviary that offers patrons an up close experience with several species of birds and waterfowl indigenous to Georgia.

Loehr also oversaw the creation of new educational programs and events, including exhibits at the RiverQuarium's Imagination Theatre, educational trips down the Flint River and a partnership with Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful for a first-of-its-kind Water Festival for area school children.

As CEO, Loehr also had to cope with unprecedented economic hardships and the subsequent struggles to keep the facility's doors open. Despite attempts to slash spending and successful efforts to increase private donations and grants, Loehr had to solicit the help of local government for help, which has supported the RiverQuarium over the past four years.

The move prompted criticism from many in the community who voiced concern over the use of public tax dollars for a non-profit organization, but without the funds, Loehr maintained the educational and cultural resources offered by the RiverQuarium would be placed in jeopardy.

Deborah Loehr, who is the head of the Albany Arts Council, will also be leaving, although she has not yet tendered her resignation and may stay for a period after her husband leaves to oversee the sale of their home, Scott Loehr said.

"I'll always cherish my time here in Albany and look forward to helping address the needs of the staff and the board during the transition period before I leave," he said.