Last updated: April 17. 2014 7:12PM - 692 Views
By - agonzalez@civitasmedia.com



Downtown merchants gather at the Liberty on Tuesday morning to review advantages of a strong Main Street program. A state specialist with North Carolina Main Street Center Division of Community Assistance leads the discussion.
Downtown merchants gather at the Liberty on Tuesday morning to review advantages of a strong Main Street program. A state specialist with North Carolina Main Street Center Division of Community Assistance leads the discussion.
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The chairwoman of the Main Street Advisory Board presented a specialist from the North Carolina Main Street Center Division of Community Assistance who visited with downtown merchants on Tuesday morning to refresh advocates on the advantages of maintaining a strong Main Street program.


The meeting was held at The Liberty at 222 E. Main St.


“We welcome our special guest. We’re going to learn some exciting things today,” said Chairwoman Teresa Ray of the Main Street Advisory Board.


“I am here to give a refresher overview of what Main Street is,” said Teresa Watts, assistant director for the N.C. Main Street Center.


According to Watts, Elkin has been in the Main Street program since 1998.


“This program is about the philosophy, the presentation, revitalization, and economic development based on historic preservation,” said Watts


According to Watts, a downtown or Main Street program is likely to succeed with a strong public/private partnership.


A slide show was presented detailing strategies and programs used by towns of similar or larger size throughout North Carolina.


Watts addressed some obstacles that are to be dealt with in Elkin’s future.


“The Chatham Mill portion is a huge challenge. Other communities are facing the same challenges though. Elkin has to figure out a solution because Chatham is so close to its Main Street…There’s a ton of history here in Elkin, much of it relied on the Chatham Mill. The future has to also be viewed as an opportunity,” said Watts.


“In spite of the challenges, Elkin is staying on track…I haven’t been here in years, but I’m aware of the Overmountain Victory Trail plans. I encourage the town to continue with promotion of tourism, promote downtown, viticulture, the river access, the hiking, and a definite advantage is being known as a trail town. Connectivity. It’s about linkages,” she said.


In addition to local merchants, attending the presentation was Mayor Lestine Hutchens.


“I thank you for shedding light on many wonderful things happening statewide. This is all great stuff,” said Hutchens.


Also present were Elkin Commissioner Cicely McCulloch and former Commissioner Joe Walker.


Anthony Gonzalez may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @newsgonz.


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