By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

When the Virginia General Assembly opened up a new avenue for economic development, the town of Smithfield jumped on it.

Fueled by Arts Center @ 319 Director Sheila Gwaltney and Tourism Director Judy Winslow, the Smithfield Town Council passed an ordinance in 2010 allowing for an Arts and Cultural District to be incorporated with the already existing historic district in downtown Smithfield.  

The ordinance allowed for several fees to be waived or reduced for arts-related businesses, such as zoning permit and business license fees, as well as fees for sandwich board signs. 

For Smithfield, it was a cultural as well as economic strategy. 

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