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New era in Smithfield

(Herald Journal) Smithfield Mayor Chad Downs runs the city out of a storage closet.

A computer server, staff mailboxes, reams of paper, file cabinets and all sorts of office supplies share the shoe box-shaped room where Smithfield’s executive does his business.

It’s a makeshift set-up, just like the rest of the 4,600-square-foot city office/police station on Main Street that’s been in service since the 1960s. The building itself has been around since 1905 and at one time was a Ford service garage.

But the days of the mayor being crammed in with boxes of paperclips and pencils will soon be a memory — the city has started building a 15,000-square-foot facility on 1.2 acres at 98 Main Street. Shovels hit the ground in July and the job should be done by February. No longer will defendants set to appear in municipal court have to stand outside on the sidewalk waiting to be called.

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