About NC Main Street Program
About NC Main Street Program
The North Carolina Main Street program works to enrich communities by developing economically flourishing downtowns.
NC Main Street Program Mission:
The NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center works in regions, counties, cities, towns, downtown districts and in designated North Carolina Main Street communities, to inspire placemaking through building asset-based economic development strategies that achieve measurable results such as investment, business growth, and jobs.
NC Main Street is a Main Street America™ Coordinating Program. Main Street America™ has helped revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. The NC Main Street and Rural Planning Center is charged by the NC Department of Commerce to facilitate downtown economic development, using the Main Street America Four Point Approach. NC Main Street staff provide strategic downtown economic development planning, technical assistance, program guidance, education and training that achieves measurable results, including investment, business development, and job growth. In addition to helping communities implement the Main Street Four Point Approach, NC Main Street holds an annual three-day conference, open to anyone interested in downtown revitalization. The NC Main Street program assists selected communities across the state in restoring economic vitality to their historic downtown.
Main Street Four Point Approach
Organization establishes consensus and cooperation by building partnerships among the various groups that have a stake in the commercial district. By getting everyone working toward the same goal, the Kings Mountain Main Street Program can provide effective, ongoing management and advocacy for the downtown district. The Main Street Advisory Board oversees the Organization and success of the Main Street Program.
Promotion takes many forms, but its goal is to create a positive image that will rekindle community pride and improve consumer and investor confidence in the downtown. Advertising, retail promotions, special events, and marketing campaigns are all tools in the promotion committee's tool chest and help sell the image and promise of Downtown Kings Mountain to the community and the surrounding region. The Promotion Committee oversees the Promotion activities of the Main Street Program.
Design means getting downtown Kings Mountain into top physical shape and creating a safe, inviting environment for shoppers, workers, and visitors. It takes advantage of visual opportunities inherent in the downtown district by directing attention to all of its physical elements: public and private buildings, storefronts, signs, public space, parking areas, street furniture, public art, landscaping, merchandising, window displays, and promotional materials. An appealing atmosphere, created through attention to all of these visual elements, conveys a positive message about Downtown Kings Mountain and what it has to offer.
Economic restructuring strengthens the downtown's existing economic assets while diversifying its economic base. This is accomplished by retaining and expanding successful businesses to provide a balanced commercial mix, sharpening the competitiveness and merchandising skills of business owners, and attracting new businesses that the market can support. Converting unused or underused commercial space into economically productive property also helps boost the profitability of the district. The goal is to build a commercial district that responds to the needs of today's customers. The Economic Vitality Committee oversees the Economic Development, Restructuring, and Revitalization efforts for the Main Street Program.
Eight Principles For Successful Main Street Programs
The National Trust Main Street Center's experience in helping communities bring their commercial corridors back to life has shown time and time again that the Main Street Four-Point Approach® succeeds. That success is guided by the following eight principles, which set the Main Street methodology apart from other redevelopment strategies. For a Main Street program to be successful, it must wholeheartedly embrace the following time-tested eight principles.
• Comprehensive: No single focus - lavish public improvements, name-brand business recruitment, or endless promotional events - can revitalize Main Street. For successful, sustainable, long-term revitalization, a comprehensive approach, including activity in each of Main Street's Four Points, is essential.
• Incremental: Baby steps come before walking. Successful revitalization programs begin with basic, simple activities that demonstrate that "new things are happening" in the commercial district. As public confidence in the Main Street district grows and participants' understanding of the revitalization process becomes more sophisticated, Main Street is able to tackle increasingly complex problems and more ambitious projects. This incremental change leads to much longer-lasting and dramatic positive change in the Main Street area.
• Self-help: no one else will save your Main Street. Local leaders must have the will and desire to mobilize local resources and talent. That means convincing residents and business owners of the rewards they'll reap by investing time and money in Main Street - the heart of their community. Only local leadership can produce long-term success by fostering and demonstrating community involvement and commitment to the revitalization effort.
• Partnerships: Both the public and private sectors have a vital interest in the district and must work together to achieve common goals of Main Street's revitalization. Each sector has a role to play and each must understand the other's strengths and limitations in order to forge an effective partnership.
• Identifying and capitalizing on existing assets: Business districts must capitalize on the assets that make them unique. Every district has unique qualities like distinctive buildings and human scale that give people a sense of belonging. These local assets must serve as the foundation for all aspects of the revitalization program.
• Quality: Emphasize quality in every aspect of the revitalization program. This applies to all elements of the process - from storefront designs to promotional campaigns to educational programs. Shoestring budgets and "cut and paste" efforts reinforce a negative image of the commercial district. Instead, concentrate on quality projects over quantity.
• Change: Skeptics turn into believers and attitudes on Main Street will turn around. At first, almost no one believes Main Street can really turn around. Changes in attitude and practice are slow but definite - public support for change will build as the Main Street program grows and consistently meets its goals. Change also means engaging in better business practices, altering ways of thinking, and improving the physical appearance of the commercial district. A carefully planned Main Street program will help shift public perceptions and practices to support and sustain the revitalization process.
• Implementation: To succeed, Main Street must show visible results that can only come from completing projects. Frequent, visible changes are a reminder that the revitalization effort is under way and succeeding. Small projects at the beginning of the program pave the way for larger ones as the revitalization effort matures, and that constant revitalization activity creates confidence in the Main Street program and ever-greater levels of participation.