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Main Street North Carolina CommunityAs a Main Street America Affiliate™, the City of Whiteville is part of a national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.

The State of North Carolina has designated the City of Whiteville as a NC Main Street Community certified by the Department of Commerce & NC Main Street and Rural Planning Center as a participant in the North Carolina Main Street Program for Downtown Revitalization.

Whiteville was selected through a competitive process in 2018 by the North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning program to participate in the Downtown Associate Community program. The Downtown Associate Community program is a two to three year process where communities must meet certain benchmarks prior to the end of three years in order to move up to designated Main Street status. The NC Main Street program holds each community selected accountable to the National Main Street/America Now standards as the state coordinating program for the National program. Whiteville will make the 67th designated Main Street Community. There are over 1600 designated Main Street programs across the United States.

The Main Street program's expectation is for Whiteville to have in place a full-time Director; who is Madison Ward and  have a designated organization that will implement the plan of work that is outlined which will be the Whiteville Downtown Development Commission Board. The board will follow the National Model which is based on these four points: Organization, Promotion, Design, and Economic Vitality. There are also eight guiding principles that all Main Street programs are reminded of: Comprehensive, Incremental, Self-help, Public/Private Partnership, Identifying and Capitalizing on Existing Assets, Quality, Change, and Action Oriented. These four-points and eight principles serve to guide the organization. The National Main Street program was founded under the National Trust for Historic Preservation therefore the program is rooted in preservation and this program is economic development within the context of historic preservation.

The state will give up great insight through this program by monthly training opportunities, and various reporting data that I will have to submit quarterly. The reports I will send in are statistical reports, almost like a report card that give us feedback on areas to improve. Also, by the city being a NC Main Street Community it will make us look more attractive when applying for grants with Commerce.  Our downtown has shown so much growth already in just the last 6 months, and we will keep growing and keep progressing. We have sold buildings, have interest in selling more buildings, have many buildings being remodeling, and people contacting us frequently about opening new establishments. Great things are happening in Whiteville, and I couldn't be more excited!

Since the program began in the fall of 1980, North Carolina Main Street downtowns have seen $702 million of new investment and experienced a net gain of more than 9,800 jobs. They have also benefited from the renovation of 2,300 buildings, and new business startups have exceeded 5,100. Nationally, Main Street communities have had $15.2 billion of new private investment in their downtowns, and North Carolina represents a significant portion of that total.

Our Mission Statement

We see a vibrant, mixed-use Vineland Village (downtown Whiteville) with active day and night street life and activity. We see significant in-fill development of vacant lots and the upgrading of current building facades to honor their historical significance. We see an appropriate mixture of office, residential, and retail space. We see Vineland Village as an incubator for new, small business development. We see a retiree component of new, and/or renovated space for retirees. We see newly developed infrastructure with new sidewalks, underground utilities, updated streetscape, free public Wi-Fi, and new landscaping. We see downtown contributing a greater share of ad valorem and other tax revenues to support City and County governments. And, we see downtown as an area of increased employment. All of these factors will lead to the continued economic and social development of downtown Whiteville, North Carolina.

Our Vision Statement

The purpose of the Whiteville Main Street program, through membership as a Downtown Associate Community, is to stimulate economic development and growth in the downtown Whiteville, NC area, to improve the appearance of the downtown area, and to encourage the cooperation between public and private entities to help make downtown Whiteville a good place to live, shop, and play.

The Main Street Approach

It is a comprehensive revitalization process designed to improve all aspects of downtown, producing both tangible and intangible benefits. Improving economic management, strengthening public participation and making downtown a fun place to visit are as critical to Main Street's future as recruiting new business, rehabilitating buildings and expanding parking lots.

Building on downtown's inherent assets-rich architecture, personal service and traditional values - the Main Street approach has kindled entrepreneurship, downtown co-operation and civic concern. It has earned national recognition as a practical strategy appropriately scaled to a community's local resources and conditions.

Madison Ward
Madison Ward
Economic Development Director / Main Street Director

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