Sylva native new downtown director

A 24-year-old with family ties to Jackson County has been hired as the new leader of the Downtown Sylva Association and as the town’s economic development director.

Paige Roberson, who grew up in Sylva, graduated from Smoky Mountain High School, and whose family once owned and operated Roberson Supply, a hardware store on N.C. 107, replaces Julie Sylvester in the director’s post. Sylvester opted not to reapply for the position when it shifted to a town-employee post earlier this summer, citing family commitments (she is the mother of young twins).

Roberson will work 20 hours a week for the town, and 20 hours a week for Jackson County’s planning department, where she completed an internship. Roberson received a bachelor’s in economics from N.C. State University in Raleigh, and received a master’s degree in public affairs at Western Carolina University.

“Paige is going to focus more on the Main Street program instead of the event side so much,” said Sylva Town Manager Adrienne Isenhower, who added that the number of future town-sponsored events hasn’t been determined yet.

Roberson was scheduled to attend a Main Street managers’ conference this week to learn the ins and outs of the state program. The N.C. Main Street Program stipulates towns must have a Main Street director to be eligible for certain state grants.

“I’m passionate about Sylva,” Roberson said in an interview late last week. “I’m eager to have this job and I’m very excited.”

Roberson cited the underlying architectural “bones” of Sylva — ie., the historical character of many of the town’s buildings that, she said, set it apart from other mountain communities — as a structure to work on. Roberson said Mill Street (locally called Back Street), is full of possibilities for enhancement.

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