On January 17, 2020, the North Carolina Main Street & Rural Planning Center selected the communities of Graham, Manteo, Mebane, Murphy, Pilot Mountain and Zebulon for the Center’s Downtown Associate Community Program.
The towns will receive up to three years of downtown revitalization technical assistance services from the Center. Staff will begin work with Graham and Murphy this month, Manteo and Mebane in the summer of 2020, and Pilot Mountain and Zebulon in January 2021.
The Downtown Associate Community program is the path that the Center has established to gain entrance into the N.C. Main Street program. These communities will receive training, technical assistance and instruction over the course of three years. If they complete the program and demonstrate that they have met the requirements of the Downtown Associate Community program, they will have the opportunity to join the Main Street program.
“All North Carolina communities have tremendous assets that they can leverage for a vibrant downtown that serves as an economic engine for the greater community,” said North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Anthony M. Copeland. “This program will help Graham, Manteo, Mebane, Murphy, Pilot Mountain and Zebulon attract new investment, grow their business community, and create more jobs.”
Launched in 2015, the Downtown Associate Community program provides communities interested in downtown revitalization with the tools to build a sustainable organizational foundation and provides communities with a comprehensive strategic plan that is ready for implementation. Towns are selected every other year through a competitive selection process.
“My team is excited to work with these communities. They all have good building stock, strong businesses, and community leadership that will help make their downtown revitalization programs successful,” said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center.
As with all programming offered by the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center, the Downtown Associate Community program is based on the Main Street America™ movement established by the National Main Street Center.
The Center will work with these communities to establish an asset-based economic development strategy that will transform downtown. The communities will develop a comprehensive implementation plan based on the Four-Point Approach® methodology that focuses on economic vitality, design, promotion and organization.
Photo (by Morgan Riley via Wikipedia) shows the reconstructed, historic Roanoke Marshes Light on the waterfront of Manteo.