WILLIAMSTON, N.C. — A historic town, focused on implementing change. That’s how Brent Kanipe, Director of Planning and Development, described Williamston.
Main Street in downtown used to be a bustling area, but it’s now filled with empty store fronts.
In order to revitalize the area, Williamston became part of the Main Street program, a project focused on implementing change.
“We just recently moved up to be a full-fledged Main Street, and that has helped us get grants” said Kanipe. “It’s provided us with additional resources for folks who want to come downtown and develop a business.”
The North Carolina Main Street Program is focused on restoring economic vitality to historic downtowns. Facade grants have been given to some local business owners, hoping to jump start the town’s revitalization.
Micheal Harring, owner of the Red Heron Cafe, received one of the Facade Grants. “We started working on renovating and everything, and when we were doing so, some of the members came by, and they informed us they could help you out in different ways with the façade grant.”
He used the money to renovate the front of his restaurant, which he believes will help beautify the town.
“When more than one business gets down here, other people will see that… and hopefully they’ll come join the team and bring more businesses down here, so downtown can grow.”
The Main Street Project is just starting to take off. 25 Facade Grants have been given to local business owners, and that’s expected to continue.
“We’ve been pretty successful. We still have a long ways to go. I think that everyone who works in downtown redevelopment has that same problem; they’ve always got a long ways to go and more to do, but we have seen some good movement this year.”