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Making Magic Downtown

Kelly Rich helps brand downtown Fayetteville, the place to be.

With the start of a new year, we are honored to welcome a fresh face to Fayetteville. 

Kelly Rich is a placemaking powerhouse. With over 20 years in the community development and event planning space, she humbly advocates for her city and its individuals. After speaking with Kelly regarding her professions, passions, and plans, I would describe her as an intentional friend to small business owners. She uses her innovative ideas to create environments of cohesion. 

With roots in Louisiana and experience as former executive director of the Springfield Preservation and Revitalization Council in Jacksonville, Florida, she made the move to NWA  just over a year ago. The title she has assumed is director of downtown initiatives for Experience Fayetteville, where she will build the city’s downtown brand. Over the past year, Kelly has been impressed by Fayetteville’s natural beauty and the resident’s overwhelming pride. She states that “it’s really hard to create pride if it’s not there, but these people LOVE their city. They’re excited to promote its authentic personality.” She is also grateful to the supportive stakeholders that have helped her surpass goals already.

Over the past year, Kelly’s goal has been to get people to the downtown district. “Once they are downtown, they will scout out the shops, eat at restaurants, and explore nightlife.” She has already added immense value to our community. This October marked the first Falltober fest in which people gathered to celebrate all things autumn. The attendance goal for this event was 1,000, which was massively exceeded when 10,000 people attended. Another successful event Kelly helped organize was a lightshow & silent disco at the Ramble, Fayetteville’s newest park. In addition to hosting more creative events, Kelly plans to support citizens with more pedestrian infrastructure and advocate for more downtown housing in anticipation of a huge population increase. She states that her role will include advertising on behalf of downtown, planning public events & pop-up activations, and highlighting local art & talent. 

Kelly’s reputation is not one of a boss, but a friend in charge. She is a relational expert who puts people first, listens well, and follows through. We are beyond lucky to have her, and excited to watch her grow our community.

Connect with Kelly!

IG @downtownfayetteville 

FB: @downtownfayettevillecoalition