After nine months serving as Interim Director, Sarah Edwards has been named Executive Director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation.  From July 2009 until September 2013, Edwards had served as Assistant to former Executive Director, Chris Johnson, who left the organization after thirteen years to become Johnston County's Economic Development Director.
A native of Smithfield and graduate of Smithfield-Selma High School, Edwards' passion for downtown development grew during her time in college and graduate school.  Edwards graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2007 with a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis, and completed coursework toward a Master of Public Administration degree at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  She plans to complete her MPA in the near future.

During her time in Chapel Hill and Wilmington, Edwards developed an appreciation for the sense of place a downtown offers that is unique to each community, the mix of people brought together by community events, and the entrepreneurial opportunities available.

"Downtown Smithfield has undergone a tremendous transformation since I went to Creech's after school for an orangeade in third grade," states Edwards.  "It is important that we continue to evolve with the needs of Smithfield's residents, workers, and visitors.  The DSDC staff and board members have laid a great foundation over the past thirty years, and I am excited to have the opportunity to continue the progress."
As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center.
Smithfield is a North Carolina Main Street Community, designated by the NC Department of Commerce and Main Street & Rural Planning Center.  The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is charged with administering the program at the local level and building a public-private partnership to spur economic development in partnership with the state agency. 
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