Smith to retire as KDP executive director

Committee formed to find a successor

  • Tuesday, February 19, 2019 8:20pm
  • Business


Barbara Smith announced Tuesday that she is retiring at the end of July as executive director of the Kent Downtown Partnership.

“I feel that I have done all that I can to move Kent Downtown Partnership forward,” Smith said in a statement. “It is time to bring in someone new with new energy and added skill sets, especially social media skills.”

The KDP has formed a hiring committee in hopes of hiring Smith’s successor with Main Street knowledge, along with other skills that meet the organization’s new goals.

Smith enjoyed her 10 years as KDP leader.

“I have loved my job, the people, the businesses and especially the board and Jodi, my administrative assistant,” Smith said. “Never have I worked for such a great group of people, or a group that is so passionate about their goals; improving things in the historic downtown. There is great leadership on our board, and we are excited about our new president, Jeff Middleton, and the leadership he is providing to advance KDP’s efforts to vitalize the downtown.

“We want our businesses to be successful, we want our new neighbors (apartments) to feel this is their home, too. Not only are our businesses in downtown vested, we want our newly formed Downtown Neighborhood Association to know we are all in this together.”

Smith will miss working with those who make a difference in the community.

“There are so many wonderful stories, but the ones I enjoy the most are the ones where we had the opportunity to work with other nonprofits, service clubs, the city of Kent and all their departments, to accomplish our goals,” she said. “In some cases, they were shared goals, such as the historic plaques in downtown, lighting of the Meeker Street overpass. Way too many to start naming.”

Smith’s last fundraiser for the KDP is April 6 at the Kent Senior Activity Center. Sponsorships are available and donations are always welcomed.

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