Alumna Leads Badin in Vision for Change
When alumni of Pfeiffer University or student families visit Pfeiffer’s Misenheimer campus, they may need a place to stay overnight in Stanly County. Mayor Sherie Anne Kelley Harwood ’68, herself a Pfeiffer alumna, strongly suggests that they look to the quaint, charming village of nearby Badin, N.C. for that purpose. She also wants them to make Badin the site of their next getaway.
“We have great amenities and awesome people in town,” said Harwood, Badin’s Mayor since 2015.
Harwood pursued a bachelor’s degree in English at Pfeiffer College after graduating from Peace Junior College (now Peace University) in Raleigh, N.C. She later earned a master’s degree in reading education from Appalachian State University, which she put to use at several schools, including the College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. She has also worked for a consulting firm that helped Charleston’s business leaders with strategic planning and goal setting — skills that Harwood draws on in her work as Mayor of Badin.
In 2009, after settling in Badin, which is close to her native Albemarle, Harwood began serving on Badin’s five-member Town Council, which selects Badin’s Mayor from among its ranks.
During her years in public service to Badin, Harwood has played a leading role in transforming it from “a company town that lost its company” into what she calls “a destination town.” It has been quite a challenge: “When I took over as mayor, we had just lost Alcoa, which was our biggest revenue producer,” she said. “So, we were a depressed town. Our meetings were about how we can become undepressed.” Eventually, Harwood and other town leaders saw a major part of Badin’s future in “wonderful natural assets” such as Badin Lake and nearby Morrow Mountain State Park. In 2021, Badin Business Park donated 14 acres for a waterfront park designed to enhance Badin Lake’s existing offerings with boat docks, wooded trails with lake views, picnic shelters, a band shell, and watercraft rentals. Construction on this project should begin soon, Harwood said.
“We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to create a unique waterfront recreation area in Badin,” Harwood said. “The park will have a regional appeal that complements the draw of Morrow Mountain State Park and Uwharrie National Forest. We look forward to maximizing the recreational offerings in our beautiful waterfront town.”
If Badin could attract enthusiasts of outdoor recreation, the thinking went, it could also appeal to history buffs (it’s recognized on the National Register of Historic Places), antique dealers (the town boasts Coy & Jen’s Antiques), and meetings of various groups in the Badin Conference Center. The center was once home to the first hospital in Stanly County; during Harwood’s mayorship, the town of Badin secured state funding to purchase it from Alcoa.
And to top it all off, Badin’s history-minded tourists can visit the Badin Historic Museum, which reminds visitors to its website that Badin is “The Town that Aluminum Built,” and they can stay in the spacious and luxurious 1913 Badin Inn.
Together with the residents of Badin, Mayor Harwood realized that the company town that lost its company had much to offer travelers and, maybe, prospective residents and business owners. “It gave us a vision of hope,” Harwood said. “People and new businesses began to buy into that vision, and I have been honored to be involved.”