Williamston receives accreditation for National Main Street program

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WILLIAMSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – The Town of Williamston received accreditation and marks for high performance from the National Main Street Center.

Williamston is one of 44 North Carolina communities cited for economic vitality and fidelity in following the best-practice standards for historic preservation and community revitalization championed by the center. New Bern, Washington, and Wilson also made the list.

Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners issue accreditation to Main Street programs across the country.

The eleven communities newly appearing in this year’s list are: Williamston, Cherryville, Hendersonville, Lexington, Lincolnton, Rocky Mount, Rutherfordton, Sanford, Shelby, Sylva and Waxhaw.

Communities receiving accreditation again this year include: Belmont, Boone, Brevard, Burlington, Clayton, Clinton, Concord, Eden, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Elkin, Fuquay-Varina, Goldsboro, Hertford, Hickory, Kings Mountain, Lenoir, Marion, Monroe, Morganton, Mount Airy, New Bern, North Wilkesboro, Roanoke Rapids, Roxboro, Salisbury, Smithfield, Spruce Pine, Statesville, Wake Forest, Washington, Waynesville, and Wilson.

“Vibrant downtowns are important economic engines for the North Carolina economy,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III. “This national recognition confirms the results we’re seeing every day in these forward-thinking communities and is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our Main Street program participants.”

“Once again, we are thrilled to recognize this year’s nationally accredited Main Street America communities for their outstanding work,” says Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “We are experiencing an exciting era for America’s cities and towns, with a growing recognition of the importance of strong local enterprise, distinctive character, engaged residents, and sense of place. These are things that Main Street America programs have been working to protect and advance for years, strengthening the economic, social, and cultural fabric of communities across the country.”

The performance standards set the benchmarks for measuring a community’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach to commercial district revitalization. Standards include fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.  More information is available at National Main Street Accreditation.

“Each year, our Center’s staff evaluates each of the state’s designated Main Street organizations to identify those programs that met the National Main Street Center’s ten performance standards for the previous twelve-month calendar year.  69% of all North Carolina Main Street communities achieved national accreditation in 2016 and that represents 14% more communities that have worked over the last year to incorporate basic best practices in their Main Street operations,” said Liz Parham, director of the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center.

Since 1980, The North Carolina Main Street program has generated $2.3 billion in private and public investment.

In 2015, North Carolina Main Street downtown districts generated 228 net new businesses, 82 business expansions in existing businesses, 358 net new jobs, 282 façade rehabilitations and 215 building rehabilitations. More than 74,188 volunteer hours were recorded.

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