The N.C. Small Town Main Street program is under the umbrella of Office of Urban Development within the Department of Commerce's Division of Community Assistance.The Small Town Main Street (STMS) program follows the Four-Point Approach methodology that was created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center. The Four-Point Approach incorporates organization, design, promotion, and economic restructuring in it's comprehensive process for downtown revitalization.
The STMS program began in the eastern part of the state in 2003, and it was extended to western North Carolina in 2007. The STMS program is designed to provide downtown revitalization assistance to small towns (populations less than 7,500), which lack the financial resources to employ a downtown manager, a requirement of the N.C. Main Street program.
Through a competitive application, process towns are selected to participate in the STMS program. These towns are given two-years of concentrated monthly on-site and any time on-call technical services by the STMS staff, following the four-point approach. Participants may remain in the program indefinitely; however, the level of service provided by the program staff is reduced to “as necessary” assistance and visits after year two. (Communities not accepted into the program can still receive assistance. This assistance will be provided as scheduling allows.)
The North Carolina Small Town Main Street staff provides many services to its participating communities. With the exception of reimbursement for travel-related expenses, including mileage and meals and an economic data report, services are free. The following is a list of services available from the Small Town Main Street staff. If communities would like additional assistance they should contact the staff to discuss any specific needs.
Commitment Required by Selected Communities
• The Town agrees to participate in the STMS program for an initial period of no less than twelve (12) months;
• Will cooperate with the STMS staff and STMS committee to develop a community vision and plan of action;
• Designate a contact person in the community for the technical assistance team to coordinate with in order to provide continuity and leadership for the effort;
• Agrees to gather needed data for Business and Market Development Report;
• Assist in organizing a volunteer committee and working subcommittees that are representative of the entire community, to provide focus for the program;
• Support the volunteer committee and will assist the committee and team in conducting a community assessment and community projects and any other necessary activities;
• Implement the plan of action to the fullest extent possible;
• Actively participate in local and regional partnerships and networks;
• Pay for an economic data report and monthly reimbursement of travel related expenses; mileage and meals.
Services Available to Designated STMS (in their first two years)
• STMS staff will commit to coordinating and facilitating monthly STMS committee meetings;
• Will help community create shared community visions for their future;
• Will prepare a Business and Market Development report based on data gathered by committee;
• Offer design assistance to property and business owners;
• Assist in creating functional committees with leadership skills;
• Assist the town in becoming more engaged in deciding their destiny as small towns;
• Will coordinate/facilitate regional workshops/round tables;
• Work toward assisting the community in increasing levels of reinvestment in their downtowns and;
• Helping the community to renew civic involvement by identifying partners and engaging these partners in the process.
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