Clint Deschene, director of community innovation for Ignite Presque Isle, speaks in June about renovations at the Northeastland Hotel in Presque Isle. Deschene has resigned from Ignite PI but will remain in Aroostook County. Credit: Paula Brewer / The Star-Herald

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Ignite Presque Isle, the community development nonprofit that is turning the city’s 90-year-old Northeastland Hotel into a business hub, will continue its mission without one of its founding members.

Clinton Deschene, who began Ignite PI as the director of community innovation, resigned about a month ago.

The Northeastland project is a large part of Presque Isle’s efforts to revitalize Main Street and draw more people downtown.

As a founding member of Ignite PI, Deschene engineered the 2021 acquisition of the hotel including fundraising, and helped formulate designs for its co-working space and new restaurant. His departure in the midst of the project means Ignite PI’s board must seek a new leader.

“Clinton Deschene has resigned and we want to thank him for his leadership in helping to get Ignite PI off the ground,” said Ryan Pelletier, chair of the Ignite Presque Isle board. “The search for a new CEO is underway.”

Pelletier said board members are working diligently to find a replacement for Deschene, but the project is still on track.

The hotel will include the Innovation Center, a co-working space where individuals or small businesses may subscribe to share office and conference areas, as well as a new restaurant called Rodney’s at 436 Main St.

The group is still working with the Rodney and Mary Barton Smith Family Foundation, through which benefactor Mary Barton Smith has helped fund the hotel’s ongoing renovations.

“Thanks to the leadership of our contractor, Nickerson and O’Day, we are on schedule to open this fall,” Pelletier said.

It was simply time for a change, Deschaine said on Wednesday. Though his next steps are in the works, he will remain in Presque Isle, he said. He did not specify what those steps are.

“It’s time for a transition. There are a lot of good things happening with Ignite PI, but it was time to move on to something more ‘me’,” he said.