ALEXANDRIA BAY — W. Howard Kelly, director of the Capital Corridor Trade and Tourism Initiative, is retiring next week after five years on the job because of health concerns.
Capital Corridor is a 500-mile transportation network that links the national capitals of Washington, D.C., and Ottawa, Ontario, and is a joint venture of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority and its Canadian counterpart, the Federal Bridge Corp.
The corridor consists primarily of U.S. Interstate 81 and Highways 401/416 in Canada.
“I was going to stay on board for another two years. But with my health issues, it just seemed to be too much,” Mr. Kelly said Friday.
Mr. Kelly has had recent heart problems he suffered only four years after his battle with cancer.
Mr. Kelly, 64, said he will be spending more time in Florida with his family in the winter but will be making trips up to the north country in the summer.
A citizen of both the U.S. and Canada, Mr. Kelly lived in Kingston, Ontario, before moving to Watertown, where he served as executive director of the American Red Cross of Northern New York before his appointment to the Capital Corridor in October 2007.
His last day at work will be Wednesday.
Aiming to create a better flow of goods, services, information and travelers between the U.S. and Canada, Mr. Kelly spent a majority of his time reaching out to various trade and business organizations, government officials and tourism groups to facilitate a dialogue and keep stakeholders up to date on changes affecting the northern border.
He also has been actively promoting the Thousand Islands International Bridge to freight companies as a less-congested route to and from Canada and has been organizing annual conferences since 2009.
Those who had an opportunity to work with him — including Gary S. DeYoung, executive director of the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council, and Shane K. Sanford, director of Boldt facilities and spokesman for the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority — described Mr. Kelly as a professional who was easy to talk to and a joy to work with.
Robert G. Horr III, TIBA’s executive director, said the bridge authority board has yet to determine whether another full-time director should be hired to oversee the Capital Corridor initiative.
In the interim, Mr. Horr said, he and Mr. Sanford will take charge of the initiative until a decision is reached regarding the direction of the Capital Corridor.