On April 9, 2020, Main Street America, a subsidiary of the National Trust for the Historic Preservation, selected three North Carolina communities to participate in its Main Street Façade Improvement Grant Program.
The program, made possible by a $746,900 grant administered by the National Park Service, seeks to demonstrate the power of coordinated, small-scale façade improvements on local economies, reinvigorate the image of downtown districts and attract private capital investment.
Main Street America, working in conjunction with the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center at the N.C. Commerce Department, will award grants to Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc., the Downtown Elkin Historic District and the Lenoir Main Street program. North Carolina is one of four states selected to participate in the program.
“The success of our downtown programs is a key component of returning prosperity to our rural communities,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland. “These façade awards showcase the collaboration among local, state and national partners that is crucial to North Carolina’s vision for Main Street vitality.”
The Main Street Façade Improvement Grant Program expands funds available for façade improvements in rural communities. Each of the three North Carolina communities will receive funds to award between two and nine grants to local Main Street businesses in amounts up to $25,000.
“We’re proud of the innovation and leadership that our partners in Elkin, Elizabeth City and Lenoir have shown in order to bring these federal funds into the state,” said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center.
“Along with being able to tap important outside resources, participation in the Main Street Façade Improvement program also brings these communities – and the state – valuable recognition that North Carolina’s Main Street programs are among the nation’s best,” she added.
Communities in Kentucky, New Mexico and Wyoming are also taking part in the program.
“We are thrilled to launch this program with our partners in Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wyoming,” said Matthew Wagner, vice president of revitalization programs at Main Street America.
“Façade improvements both preserve historic resources and spur economic growth in communities, and we are eager to start disbursing these funds to produce these changes in rural Main Street communities,” he concluded.
The National Main Street Center has been helping revitalize historic commercial districts from more than 35 years. Its network of over 1,600 neighborhoods and communities – both rural and urban – share a commitment to energizing communities through preservation-based economic development.
Headquartered in Chicago, the organization is a non-profit subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The program’s partners at the National Park Service, a unit of the U.S. Department of the Interior, work with communities across the country to preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.
Photo of the Elizabeth City waterfront courtesy of Visit Elizabeth City.