, N.C. -- The North Carolina Main Street Center has selected four municipalities to participate in its new Downtown Associate Community program.  The Town of Aberdeen, the Village of Chimney Rock, the Town of Elon and the City of Laurinburg will take part in the three-year program, which offers training, networking and technical expertise to communities with populations of fewer than 50,000. 

“The four municipalities will connect with the guidance and support they need to bring businesses, jobs and investment to their downtowns,” said Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III. “The new Downtown Associate Community program adds valuable tools to help with their economic development."

Chosen after a competitive application process, the towns will receive up to three years of technical assistance from the NC Main Street Center beginning immediately.  Upon completing the Downtown Associate program and meeting the requirements of the NC Main Street program, the four participants are eligible to apply for official designation as Main Street communities. 

The Downtown Associate Community program, launched in May of this year, will provide communities with the tools to build sustainable organizational foundations that strengthens downtown revitalization efforts. The program uses a process pioneered by the National Main Street Center® that focuses on organization development, design, promotion and economic restructuring.

“We are excited to work with this inaugural class of the Downtown Associate Community program and look forward to strengthening their downtown revitalization efforts,” said Elizabeth Parham, director of the NC Main Street Center at the N.C. Department of Commerce. “The new Downtown Associate Community program model empowers municipalities with knowledge, support and best practices, providing the foundation for long-term success.”

NC Main Street Center officials expect the Downtown Associates Community program to undertake a competitive selection process every two years.

For additional information about the NC Main Street Center, visit www.nccommerce.com/MainStreet

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