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:     david.wise@rockymountnc.gov

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?”