YES, It Is A Big Deal – When Rocky Mount Does Not Meet Main Street Accreditation Standards for both 2018 and 2019

I am of the opinion that if it is really important to you, regardless of your busy schedule and obligations, you will find a way to pursue a passion. You will get up early, stay up late, forego something, but you will figure out a way to walk and chew gum at the same time because it means that much to you. When I read that Rocky Mount has lost its Main Street accreditation again, it tells me  our current city leadership finds this Main Street Approach to community transformation unimportant.  The Main Street Program offers support for community-led downtown revitalization. We need all the help we can get.

As far back as the mid-1970’s the National Trust for Historic Preservation, concerned about threats to  Main Streets’ commercial architecture and a need to stimulate economic activity in small-city downtowns, launched a program that led to the creation of the Main Street Four-Point Approach and the establishment of the National Main Street Center in Washington,D.C.  Main Street is a national program that has changed the way governments, planners and developers view preservation.

The Main Street approach sells a positive image of the commercial district and encourages consumers and investors to live, work, shop, and play in the Main Street district. This means getting Main Street into top physical shape. Capitalizing on its best assets, such as historic buildings, an creating an inviting atmosphere. No city in North Carolina has a Main Street like ours. Filled with significant architecture, building by building, worthy of saving and repurposing. Here are the depositories of new dreams, where stories of the people of the past and their businesses remain in the dust motes captured in the sunlight through the window glass.

I can’t help wax poetic about the historic significance of preservation, which I hope resonates with you. The Main Street Program provides funding opportunities. Accreditation is a big deal.  The Main Street Solutions Fund supports small businesses; grants that assist planning agencies and small businesses with efforts to revitalize downtowns by creating jobs, funding infrastructure improvements and rehabilitating buildings. The federal funds from The Community Development Block Grant are designed to return vacant or underutilized commercial buildings to economic use for new and/or expanded business.

Keeping up with the Main Street Accreditation process is routine ‘busy work’ if you are committed to the purpose of belonging, and intent on tapping into the collective wisdom and experience this group provides. The Process evaluates established commercial district revitalization programs based on 10 basic performance standards set by Main Street America. David Wise, the new downtown community development coordinator, worked on Main Street revitalization efforts in prior lives before coming to us. He has been recently appointed as administrator of Rocky Mount’s Main Street program. In his experienced hands, we should be able to right this wrong and get with the program, as they say! If you are interested and willing to help serve on the Main Street Program committee and can bring your expertise to the matter, check with David and let him know as he moves forward.     CONTACT:

FYI: I used direct available information from a draft program manual for the NC Main Street Community when writing about this matter. I don’t think they will mind if it helps answer the question, “What’s this all about, Alfie?”

8 thoughts on “YES, It Is A Big Deal – When Rocky Mount Does Not Meet Main Street Accreditation Standards for both 2018 and 2019

  1. In unvarnished words:

    entire departments, managers, directors, the city council and the mayor are each responsible for the accreditation breech. Shameless dereliction of duty by all.


  2. I must say, the “flashing sign” near the event center takes away from the historical charm of downtown and cheapens the look of the center, both in a big way! Just my opinion. Happy fourth to you!

    Monnique Taylor


  3. Hi Stepheny. I just want to voice an opinion on not just this issue, but in general. Actually it’s just a rant, probably a long one but still just ranting. I think all of the issues you write about are important and very relevant, not to mention interesting. However, I would like to tone down the accusations for who is to blame for the entire downtown issue(s). If feels as if it the more we throw shade and blame, the more divisive the city is becoming. I am not sure how we should address issues without calling out and/ or blaming the obvious city government officials. I am just really sick and tired of the “guilty until proven innocent” standard we are using. What we think we know, and sometimes what we think we see, is not what it may really be. A lot of people are dropping the ball, so to speak, in our city. Regardless as to how we feel about that, the bigger picture and bigger concern is bringing a divided city back together for the betterment of our individualized communities. Then we can function as a unified city. Yes, we need to change all the management. Just start over. We also have to give everything the same consideration we would want if we were in those positions; trying to clean up previous messes, bring together a divided city, do our job but not offend anyone, figure out who can be trusted, play the “the good ole boys game” while trying to be progressive and the list goes on and on. Let’s all take off our masks for a minute and just see people. No color, no criminality, no hearsay, nothing. Just look, listen and learn so we can become one again. (Forgive any typos…just a rushed rant)

    Monnique Taylor


    1. You KNOW I value your point of view and insights about this large picture of how we move forward together. I agree about the blame game and yet I would like accountability for these leadership mistakes. I don’t think of your input as a rant, but trying to help figure what we must do. Thank you!


  4. What a disappointment. Main street Rocky Mount is awesome. We loved our buildings especially the Bel air artisans center and our building on Howard str. Where we lived. Hilarie Vetere.

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


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