North Carolina’s designated Main Street and Small Town Main Street communities have leveraged more than $5.2 billion in public and private investment in their downtown districts since 1980, according to new figures released today by the Department of Commerce.
During the recently completed 2022-23 fiscal year, North Carolina’s Main Street programs leveraged $684,637,060 in local public and private investment and saw 365 new businesses and nearly 3,000 jobs added in their downtown districts.
Since the inception of the Main Street Program in the state, more than 7,800 buildings have been rehabilitated, with net gains of more than 35,000 jobs and nearly 7,800 businesses. The North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center manages the program as part of the Commerce Department and its Rural Economic Development Division.
“The Main Street program has worked for decades to bring investment and vitality to the state’s many downtown districts,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “I’m pleased to see another strong year of performance added to Main Street’s distinguished track record.”
Results reflect reporting from the state’s 70 designated Main Street and 9 designated Small Town Main Street communities active in the two programs.
N.C. Main Street Program
Current populations for the designated Main Street communities’ range from 1,438 people up to 108,229. All communities were under 50,000 people at the time of their original designation. At the local level, program communities feature a Main Street director, a board of directors, and a host of community volunteers.
In fiscal year 2022-23, Main Street communities reported:
- $673,520,921 in downtown public and private investment
- 2,871 new jobs
- 345 new businesses
- 305 building renovations
- 405 façade improvements
- 112,952 volunteer hours with a value of $3,372,747
Since 1980, the Main Street program has seen $5,071,550,227 in downtown public and private investment, nearly 33,000 jobs and a net gain of nearly 7,300 businesses. Designated Main Street communities receive strategic planning, technical assistance, and training and education from the N.C. Main Street and Rural Planning Center to develop economic development strategies that are transformational for their downtown districts.
“Local Main Street programs across the state are seeing significant investment, job creation, and business development in their downtown districts,” said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Commerce Main Street and Rural Planning Center. “We are seeing new construction of public facilities and private investment, mills that are redeveloped for mixed-use development and housing, and historic downtown commercial structures that are being rehabilitated for new small businesses development.”
Small Town Main Street Program
The Small Town Main Street program operates in communities with populations below 5,000 that have the capacity to run a volunteer-driven downtown revitalization initiative. Small Town Main Street communities reported the following statistics from their 2022-23 work:
- $11,116,139 in downtown public and private investment
- 98 new jobs
- 20 new businesses
- 26 building renovations
- 22 facade improvements
- 15,135 volunteer hours with a value of $451,931
Since the inception of the Small Town Main Street program in 2003, the program has seen $133,575,770 in downtown public and private investment, more than 2,100 jobs, and a net gain of 570 businesses.
The N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center is North Carolina's state coordinating program for Main Street America, created by the National Main Street Center. Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for 43 years. It is the leading voice for preservation-based economic development and community revitalization across the country. Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, Main Street America represents the broad diversity that makes the United States unique. Working together, the programs that make up the Main Street America network breathe new life into the places people call home.
The N.C. 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. Commerce’s Main Street staff provides strategic economic development planning and technical assistance, program guidance, and training and education to participating communities under the structure of the Main Street America™ program. The program incorporates transformative economic development strategies that are implemented through a Four-Point Approach to Downtown Revitalization that includes economic vitality, design, promotion, and organization.
For more information on the NC Main Street and Rural Planning Center, its programs, and a list of participating North Carolina communities, visit commerce.nc.gov/mainstreet.