Clinton Main Street earns accreditation

By: By Chris Berendt -

For the third straight year, the City of Clinton has earned National Main Street Accreditation by hitting benchmarks for progress and continuing to move the downtown forward.

“This is the third consecutive year the Clinton Main Street Program has attained national accreditation,” said Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose, who serves as Clinton Main Street Program manager. “This designation would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers and partners, many of whom participate in our program by being a member of one of our Main Street Four Point Approach committees.”

Those committee members work in the areas of organization, design, promotion, and economic vitality “to create a vibrant downtown Clinton,” Rose noted. Each committee participates in the development of an annual work plan that identifies at least three areas of focus for each committee annually.

Earlier this summer, the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Main Street & Rural Planning Center announced that Clinton was one of 39 communities that had achieved accreditation from the National Main Street Center for meeting those performance standards — the Four Point Approach — set by the center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“This structured approach aids all committees in accomplishing significant projects during the course of each year,” Rose pointed out.

Some of last year’s accomplishments — on which this year’s accreditation was based — included the first annual Clinton Main Street Program Awards Banquet, developed by the Organization Committee; implementation of wayfinding, by the Design Committee; participation in the first Shop Local Saturday Campaign for Sampson County, by the Promotion Committee; and promotion of the Clinton Main Street Program incentives, by the Economic Vitality Committee.

“The Clinton Main Street Program boasts many partnerships with local businesses and other organizations which make great things happen in downtown Clinton,” Rose noted.

Since 1980, the North Carolina Main Street program has generated more than $2.5 billion in private and public investment. Last year, Main Street districts generated 319 net new businesses, 154 business expansions in existing businesses, 1,555 net new jobs, 393 facade rehabilitations and 328 building renovations. More than 114,336 volunteer hours were recorded, N.C. Main Street officials said.

“Strong, thriving main streets are a key in ensuring strong communities, especially in rural parts of the state,” said Anthony M. Copeland, secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce. “We’re proud that our Main Street communities have been recognized on a national level for their achievements. These local programs assist communities in bringing jobs and businesses to their downtowns, which helps overall communities enjoy a healthier, more robust economy.”

In addition to the accreditation accomplishment, Clinton’s Main Street leader was also selected to head an association whose impact is felt statewide.

Rose was recently elected to serve as president-elect for the North Carolina Downtown Development Association, a nonprofit comprised of a 21-member volunteer board of directors, which meets quarterly. Members include downtown development managers, coordinators and Main Street managers; economic developers; town planners; town managers; architects; landscape architects; developers; and other professionals involved in the development of downtowns across the state.

Rose will be tasked with assisting the organization in organizing Downtown Day 2018 in Raleigh on the Halifax Mall. During the 2017 Downtown Day, a check from NCDDA representing the annual economic impact of N.C.’s downtowns in the amount of $1.455 billion was presented to Lt. Governor Dan Forest by NCDDA board members demonstrating the strong economic tool downtowns can be.

Rose to head state group

By Chris Berendt

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.

Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.