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The North Carolina Main Street & Rural Planning Center at the North Carolina Department of Commerce has announced that 52 North Carolina communities have been designated as a 2021 Accredited Main Street America™ program. This accreditation status is Main Street America’s top tier recognition and signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and a proven track record of successfully developing an asset based economic development strategy, and implementation through the Main Street Four-Point Approach™.

“We are delighted to see that the diligent work of North Carolina’s accredited Main Street programs continues to meet the standards of the National Main Street Center,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “This national recognition spotlights the daily work of our local Main Street programs which fuels North Carolina’s overall economy by increasing the economic vitality of their downtown districts with new jobs and more businesses.”

The following N.C. Main Street communities that have earned accreditation for their 2020 performance: Albemarle, Belmont, Bessemer City, Boone, Brevard, Burlington, Cherryville, Clinton, Concord, Eden, Edenton, Elizabeth City, Elkin, Elon, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Goldsboro, Hendersonville, Hickory, Kings Mountain, Lenoir, Laurinburg, Lexington, Lumberton, Marion, Monroe, Morehead City, Morganton, Mount Airy, New Bern, Newton, North Wilkesboro, Oxford, Reidsville, Roanoke Rapids, Roxboro, Rutherfordton, Salisbury, Sanford, Shelby, Smithfield, Spruce Pine, Statesville, Sylva, Tarboro, Tryon, Wake Forest, Washington. Waynesville, Waxhaw, Williamston, and Wilson.

The performance standards set the benchmarks for measuring an individual Main Street community’s application of the Main Street Four Point Approach to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building meaningful and sustainable revitalization programs and include standards such as, fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings. Visit National Main Street Accreditation to learn more about the standards.

“We are proud to recognize this year’s 889 nationally accredited Main Street programs that have worked tirelessly to advance economic vitality and quality of life in their downtowns and commercial districts,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of Main Street America. “During an incredibly challenging year, these programs demonstrated the power of the Main Street movement to drive impressive local recovery efforts, champion small businesses, and foster vibrant downtown districts. I am inspired by their hard work and confident that these accredited communities will continue to help their downtowns flourish in the next stages of recovery.”

“The N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center is delighted with this year’s accredited communities. These communities have worked hard to build sustainable organizations. With these efforts, they are building vibrant downtowns and demonstrated the ability to pivot quickly when dealing with a crisis, like COVID-19. We commend these communities and their volunteers on the work they have accomplished in their historic districts and look forward to seeing their continued success,” said Liz Parham, Director of the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center.”

Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $89.57 billion in new public and private investment, generated 687,321 net new jobs and 154,435 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 303,836 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Nationally, Main Street America programs generated $4.14 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 4,356 net new businesses, generated 14,988 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,488 historic buildings, and clocked 983,702 volunteer hours in 2020.

Since 1980, N.C. Main Street programs have generated $3.62 billion in private and public investment. In 2020, N.C. Main Street downtown districts generated 260 net new businesses, 99 business expansions in existing businesses, 1,262 net new jobs, 398 façade rehabilitations, 242 building rehabilitations, and recorded 84,017 volunteer hours.

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