Source: The Davidsonian
By Katie Lovett
On Tuesday, Sep. 22, town officials received word that Davidson has been accepted into the North Carolina Main Street program.
According to the North Carolina Main Street Center, the program “helps small towns to recognize and preserve their historic fabric” by utilizing local resources to “build on their unique characteristics to create vibrant central business districts that meet the needs of today’s communities.”
Developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the program offers funding for the renewal of small town main streets and has proven successful in over a thousand smaller communities across the United States.
Since the establishment of the program in 1980, North Carolina Main Street downtowns have experienced a gain of $1.1 billion in new investments, a net gain of 13,000 jobs, a net gain of 3,100 businesses and the renovation of 3,000 buildings. Nationwide, Main Street communities have received more than $41.6 billion of new public and private investment in their downtowns.
The Main Street program utilizes a four-point approach to implement its objective of downtown redevelopment and revitalization: organization, promotion, design, and economic restructuring in central business districts.
Building partnerships between diverse groups including merchants, bankers, public officials, civic groups and the chamber of commerce promotes effective management and downtown leadership. The program aims to restore downtown areas as attractions for shoppers, investors and tourists by improving retail merchandising and rejuvenating community involvement.
The four-point approach also includes enhancing the aesthetic quality of the downtown area with attention to environmental elements and public improvements.
Finally, the program seeks to diversify the economic base of the community while maintaining and strengthening the existing economic assets of the business district.
The town of Davidson hopes to benefit from the program guidance, technical assistance, training, networking, advocacy and leadership that the North Carolina Main Street Center offers. Over the past year, Davidson has been devising a new comprehensive plan for the redevelopment of the downtown area.
Beginning with a restructuring that shifted the director of the non-profit Downtown Davidson Inc. (DDI) to a department head position in Town Hall, town officials have been seeking to improve the local business climate.
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