Phase I Historic Downtown Wilkesboro Revitalization Project, Wilkesboro NC
2022 NC Small Town Main Street Award: Economic Vitality
Town of Wilkesboro
Wilkesboro Planning & Community Development Department
Former Wilkesboro Mayor Pete Mann had an idea for a small downtown area plan back in the 1990s. That plan took on a new meaning in 2009 when Historic Downtown Wilkesboro became a designated Small Town Main Street Community, and in 2011, the Historic Downtown Wilkesboro Masterplan was finalized.
In 2014, the Wilkesboro Town Council narrowed the focus of the masterplan and completed schematics of the Commons and the Pavilion, and in 2016, Design Workshop, a landscape architecture firm from Raleigh, completed construction documents of the project area.
Phase 1 of the plan, that was completed in February of 2022, has three contiguous sites. The first site, the Carolina West Wireless Community Commons area, and the Wilkes Communications Pavilion are located at 102 West Main Street. The Heritage Square Splash Pad is located at 100 East Main Street, in front of the Wilkes Heritage Museum. And the third site is the Tyson Yadkin River Greenway Trailhead, just north of the pavilion at 202 West North Street.
Together, these three projects have created a space in downtown that promotes walkability and outdoor activity. The Commons and the Pavilion attracts visitors that are more than double Wilkesboro’s population numbers. The splashpad draws hundreds of children and their families daily, and the greenway access is connecting residents to Historic Downtown Wilkesboro.
Since the Pavillion was completed the 2018, $4.4 million of private money has been invested in downtown, leveraging 14 façade improvements, 22 full time and 8 part time jobs, and 5 annual concerts attracting up to 3,000 attendees per show.