Larissa Harper, downtown business specialist in Wilson, N.C., has been named the new Downtown Salisbury, Inc. (DSI) downtown development director, effective Monday, Oct. 9.
Harper is a five-year veteran of the City of Wilson planning and community revitalization department where she served as in-kind city staff for two non-profit agencies to provide development of vacant/underutilized buildings in the immediate downtown Wilson area. Her specific duties included business recruitment, retention, and advocate for the downtown community; managing and implementing the Strategic Action Plan for Economic Development for Wilson Downtown Development Corporation; and negotiating development agreements with the direction of the Board of Directors for Wilson Downtown Properties, Inc.
Previously, Harper served as executive director of Kernersville Downtown Preservation and Development Council, Inc. (KDPDC). There, she expanded the role of KDPDC to create an advocate organization for businesses within the downtown area of Kernersville. She also was instrumental in facilitating on-going, collaborative work sessions between merchants, residents, board members, as well as town officials and downtown business and property owners.
“We are fortunate that we were able to appoint a new development director with Larissa’s caliber to lead our efforts in developing Salisbury’s downtown area,” said City Manager W. Lane Bailey. “Larissa brings a wealth of knowledge to this position, but more importantly, a sense of the bright future of Salisbury and what it can become. I’m confident that she will do well in this position with support from the DSI Board of Directors and our local merchants.”
“As DSI solidifies its partnership with the City of Salisbury, we are very excited about Larissa Harper’s appointment as the new Downtown Development Director,” said DSI President Greg Shields. “Her extensive Main Street experience will bring tremendous value as we move forward with the Empire project and continue making Downtown Salisbury a great place to shop, dine and visit.”
“I am truly excited for this opportunity to return to the area and become a contributing member of the charming community that I visited often while growing up on High Rock Lake,” said Harper. “I see my role as an advocate for the Downtown Salisbury community, working together to grasp this trend of upward momentum, and creating an even more desirable destination. My goal is to introduce myself to business and property owners, as quickly as possible, to understand the needs of the community I will serve.”
Harper is a graduate of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. She is a licensed real estate broker, and has served as a board member of the Wilson Community College Small Business Advisory Board.