NC Main Street
The NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center is a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program and works to stimulate economic development within the context of historic preservation, using a comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization. As a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program, The NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center helps to lead a powerful, grassroots network consisting of over 40 Coordinating Programs and over 1,200 neighborhoods and communities across the country committed to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.
In 1980, the National Trust created the National Main Street Center to share lessons learned in a pilot program based on their downtown revitalization process: the Main Street Four Point Approach. For the next three years, the National Main Street Center conducted a national demonstration in six states, including North Carolina, encouraging the creative use of business and government resources to support local revitalization initiatives. Since 1980 North Carolina has continued to offer the Main Street program to cities and towns throughout the state and now provides direct assistance to 65 Main Street Communities and indirect assistance to countless others.
To expand services to more North Carolina towns, a Small Town Main Street program was initiated in 2003. This program services 24 towns with populations of less than 7,500, which are unlikely to pursue North Carolina Main Street designation.
Main Street Four-Point Approach
The Main Street Four-Point Approach is a comprehensive revitalization process designed to improve all aspects of a downtown, producing both intangible and tangible benefits.
Four elements are combined to create a well-balanced program:
- Organization: Building partnerships to create a consistent revitalization program and develop effective management and leadership downtown. Diverse groups - merchants, bankers, public officials, the chamber of commerce and civic groups - must work together to improve downtown.
- Promotion: Reestablishing downtown as a compelling place for shoppers, investors and visitors. This means not only improving sales but also rekindling community excitement and involvement. Promotion ranges from street festivals to retail merchandising, from community education to marketing and public relations.
- Design: Enhancing the visual quality of the downtown. Attention is given to the downtown environment elements - not just buildings and storefronts but also public improvements, rear entries, signs, landscaping, window displays and graphic materials.
- Economic Vitality: Strengthening the existing economic assets of the business district while diversifying its economic base. Activities include conducting market analysis to understand the changing market place, adapting vacant buildings that have outlived their original purposes for use as entertainment or cultural facilities and sharpening the competitiveness of Main Street's traditional merchants.
The NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center serves three roles and operates three programs:
- To facilitate downtown revitalization through the Main Street America Program
- To administer the Main Street Solutions Fund Program
- To serve as the state's leading resource in downtown revitalization for all NC communities.
See the 2017 Main Street Annual Report for the NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center's latest activities and accomplishments.