Department of Transportation Chief Operating Officer Jim Trogdon today joined NC Board of Transportation member Gus Tulloss and local leaders to dedicate a section of Interstate 95 from Exit 95 in Smithfield to Exit 97 in Selma as the Dick Fleming Freeway in honor of the late local businessman, Dick Fleming.
“Due in great part to Dick’s pioneering efforts, this entire region has grown and blossomed, and I’m sure he would be deeply moved by the success of this area if he were here with us today,” said Trogdon.
A visionary of retail shopping in Johnston County, Fleming transformed the Smithfield-Selma stretch of I-95 into a thriving shopping destination.
His contributions to the area begun with the opening of a Howard Johnson Motel and Restaurant in 1964. Fleming then founded a Carolina Pottery Store on I-95 in 1983, which led to the development of the Carolina Pottery Outlet Center in 1989, now known as the Carolina Premium Outlets.
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Fleming’s generosity and dedication to Johnston County led to the donation of land to the Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce for use as a visitor’s center to promote the community and the entire county.
Members of the Fleming family joined Trogdon and other speakers in sharing stories in remembrance of Fleming at today’s event, which took place at Johnston Community College.
The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of a Dick Fleming Freeway interstate sign.
The Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce, Johnston County Board of Commissioners, Selma Town Council, Smithfield Town Council and the Fleming family requested the road naming, which was also supported by the Johnston County Tourism Authority. The NC Board of Transportation passed a resolution to dedicate the stretch of highway in Fleming’s honor in January.