ROCKLAND — The city is losing a veteran economic development director to the twin cities of Lewiston-Auburn.

John Holden said Thursday that he has accepted the job as president of the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council. Holden will stay on in Rockland as its community development director through Dec. 31.

Holden was hired in January 2013, succeeding Audrey Lovering, who resigned abruptly in October 2012 over a dispute with then city manager James Smith.

Holden came to Rockland from the Eaton Peabody Consulting Group, where he had worked for four years. He also has served as an economic development advisor to Old Town and Howland.

The director said Rockland should continue its economic growth direction. A five-story hotel is under construction at the intersection of Main and Pleasant streets, the O’Hara Corporation is building a new boat storage and repair complex on the waterfront and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art has begun its project on Winter Street.

The Lewiston-Auburn group is nonprofit corporation that works with the two cities.

Holden’s departure comes as the city is ready to interview six candidates for its city manager job. The interviews will be held Dec. 1.

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