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RALEIGH – Nine communities will receive awards for excellence in downtown revitalization during the North Carolina Main Street Awards Ceremony on Wednesday. Liz Parham, Director of the North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center presented the awards virtually in categories that include economic vitality, design, promotion and organization.

“We are delighted to honor these remarkable communities and their award-winning projects,” said N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “Not only did these projects create more jobs in rural communities, but they also sparked economic recovery and enhanced the historic and cultural assets of our state.”

“The projects being recognized represent local capacity to develop public-private partnerships, leverage local assets, and create economic development initiatives,” added Kenny Flowers, Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development. “North Carolina communities used public and private investment, historic tax credits, and Commerce’s Main Street Solutions Fund and the Community Development Block Grant Neighborhood Revitalization dollars, to bring these projects to fruition.”

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The North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center helps small towns create vibrant central business districts by preserving their historic fabric and building on their unique characteristics using local resources. A panel of judges chose this year’s award winners from more than 30 nominations submitted by Main Street communities statewide.

The following projects received 2020 Awards of Merit:


Best Public-Private Partnership in Downtown Revitalization

  • Belmont – Techworks Gaston

Best Economic Recovery Initiative

  • Belmont – Keep The Lights On In Belmont   
  • Hendersonville – LoveHendo – Downtown Hendersonville COVID-19 Response Plan
  • Morganton – COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Strategy
  • Mount Airy – Market Street Arts & Entertainment District


Best Downtown Special Event or Event Series

  • Salisbury – 2019 Cheerwine Festival 

Best Retail Promotion

  • Belmont – Belmont Al Fresco Dining


Best Adaptive Reuse Project

  • Fuquay-Varina – Governmental Facilities Project Fuquay-Varina Town Hall
  • Hendersonville – Grey Hosiery Mill Reuse
  • Wake Forest – Norse Brewing Company

Best Endangered Properties Rescue Effort

  • Lenoir – Stine’s Ice Cream Parlor Building


Best Historic Rehabilitation Project

  • Washington – The Hackney