Sarah Catherine Pennington named new executive director of Columbiana Main Street

Published 10:21 am Thursday, June 20, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – After an official announcement across the organization’s social media accounts earlier this month, Columbiana Main Street officially introduced its new executive director during a presentation of Columbiana Mayor David Mitchell’s monthly video.

“We are super excited to announce that Sarah Catherine Pennington is our new executive main street director,” said Cathy Hitt, president of the Columbiana Main Street Board.

Pennington, who is a native of Columbiana, has been working with Columbiana Main Street for some time and has previously been in charge of the organization’s social media presence. Her new appointment comes following the recent resignation of Ashlea Franco from the position of executive director.

“I grew up in Columbiana, I live in Columbiana currently,” Pennington said. “I love Columbiana and always have. I have two little girls and my husband I met here in Columbiana. I am just really excited to get started and (continue) working on Main Street.”

Franco’s resignation came as the result of her wanting to spend more time with family and to take a small step away from the requirements of the position. However, Franco will remain as a fully active member of the Columbiana Main Street Board of Directors and has assured the community that she is not going anywhere.

The Columbiana Main Street Board currently consists of eight board members and tackles a variety of categories toward the revitalization of Columbiana’s Main Street and overall community.

In addition to supporting existing businesses among the Main Street district and helping to find and recruit new additions, the organization also focuses on both the maintenance and development of the aesthetics and beauty of Columbiana’s downtown area.

This is accomplished through the organization’s façade grant program, and the sponsoring of numerous events that bring residents and visitors to the city. Columbiana’s Music on Main and Farmer’s Markets, Art on Main, Liberty Day, Movies at the Park, Monsters on Main and the annual Farm to Table Dinner are all examples of such efforts.

Through the organization and promotion of these events and contributing to the design and implementation of murals, decorations and other grant applications, Columbiana Main Street works alongside other community groups to always keep the city moving forward. It also aids in developing the economic vitality of Columbiana through the development of cooperative partnerships among local businesses.

“That is one of things that Sarah will be doing—going in and getting to know the businesses, getting to know the owners and promoting their business,” Hitt said.

As part of the presentation in the mayor’s monthly video, both Pennington and Hitt also called for anyone in the community that is interested in the organization to please get involved.

“We always need volunteers,” Hitt said. “Each one of our groups are made up of committees. If you want to be a member of the farm-to-table committee, or the watering committee, come, come, come we really need that. Come be a part of the excitement and the great things that are happening here in Columbiana.”

The mayor’s monthly video containing the full conversation about Columbiana Main Street, Pennington’s appointment and more can be found at