Barb Smith, Executive Director of the Kent Downtown Partnership (KDP), formally announced that she is retiring, effective July 31, 2019.

Barb has served in this role for ten years, since July, 2009.

“I feel that I have done all that I can to move Kent Downtown Partnership forward,” Barb said. “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, and they are seeking to find someone with Main Street knowledge, along with other skills that meet with their new goals.

“I have loved my job, the people, the businesses and especially the Board and Jodi, my Admin. Assistant,” Barb added. “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.”

Barb will go out in style though at the KDP’s upcoming annual dinner/auction fundraiser – ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ – set for Saturday, April 6 at the Kent Senior Activity Center. To purchase tickets, you can send a Text Message to 555888, then type in KDP in the message line. Sponsorships are still available and donations are always welcomed.

In addition to helping to keep downtown Kent vital, Barb has made many great memories over the last ten years.

“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 non-profits, 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.”

For more information on the KDP, visit

Scott Schaefer

Founder/Publisher/Editor. Three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (“Bill Nye the Science Guy”), Director, Producer, Journalist and more...