Great Places 2017 Winners

Professional’s Category: Great Main Street Evans Street, Morehead City Evans Street and its adjoining waterfront, is the historic and cultural center for Morehead City and an important economic driver for the community. It has, in six short years, seen a transformation through a collaboration of private, public, and non-profit entities. The waterfront has gone from being a place with many empty storefronts and no pedestrian traffic to a destination known for festivals, entertainment, fine dining, unique shops, and world class fishing and diving. Professional’s Category: Great Main Street in the Making Clay Street, Mebane A Great Main Street in the Making is a street that is still being planned or developed, but has great potential for success. Clay Street in Mebane is just such a street. The street has shops, restaurants, and businesses that maintain the character and charm of the city.  The White Furniture Factory, at the end of Clay Street, was until recently, vacant and becoming an eye sore.  The City of Mebane, working with developers transformed the dilapidated building into 156 high end, unique, historic lofts in a $25 million renovation.  The complex is a key piece is helping with a vitality of downtown. The building will now have an estimated 250 people living, shopping, and eating right in downtown Mebane. Professional’s Category: Great Transformation Mooresville Mill, Mooresville Throughout much of the twentieth century, the Mooresville mill complex produced a variety of finished goods and was the largest single employer and tax payer in Iredell County. But, in 1999, due to profound changes in the domestic economy, the mill closed. Through fits and starts, different owners tried to...

2016 Great Places Recognized at Town Hall Day in Raleigh

Winners in the 2016 Great Places in North Carolina awards program were recognized at a press event during Town Hall activities on June 8th in Raleigh. Eleven legislators attended the event in a packed press room at the Legislative Building where APA-NC Chapter President John Morck recognized winning communities for the dynamic and collaborative partnerships that facilitated great main streets, great main streets in-the-making, great places for healthy living, and great historic rehabilitations. Representatives from Waynesville, Matthews, Statesville, Rocky Mount, Pitt County, and Greensboro shared with those attendance “nuggets of wisdom” from their respective communities. Over the summer and early fall, each of the communities will host a local recognition event where they will be presented with a framed award certificate. Additionally, the APA-NC Annual Planning Conference in Asheville will include a Great Places in NC session where winning communities will describe best practices and lessons learned....

Great Places 2016 Winners

Professional’s Category: Great Main Street Matthews Trade Street and Matthews Station Streets are two prominent roads in Matthews—home to shops, institutional buildings, restaurants and special events. The two streets are representative of Matthews’ history and its future. Historically, Trade Street was a major thoroughfare, home to some of the oldest buildings in town (including 116-year old Renfrow Hardware). Around the corner, Matthews Station Street developed as town-managed infill project in the early 2000s. Matthews Station is a modern addition to downtown, but maintains the small town character by providing walkable streets and context-sensitive architecture. Here you’ll also find specialty restaurants, shops, a craft beer store, and even an electric charging station. These streets serve as the heartbeat of the town as citizens come here to shop, eat, play, and experience Matthews.       Statesville The intersection of Center Street and Broad Street, known affectionately as “The Square,” represents the finest of Main Streets in the state. There is a flurry of activity every day, from school uniforms to business suits, to live music and nightlife. There is art at every corner, in the cafes and shops, art galleries, and the sculpture park. The boutique-style shopping and independently-owned restaurants are centered on The Square. Festivals bring music and laughter and friends gather to eat and drink. Statesville’s main street serves as the “center” of the community’s values, intersecting with the city’s “broad” dreams for a dynamic future. Waynesville Main Street is the historic and cultural center for Waynesville and am important economic driver for the community. The town closes the street to automobile traffic to host community square dancing,...

APA-NC Recognizes Goldsboro’s Center Street as its 2015 Great Place in the Making

Written by Ben Hitchings, APA-NC Past President The story of Goldsboro’s work to revitalize Center Street is a tale of civic courage and collaboration. The community’s energy and commitment were broadly evident on Friday, September 18th as APA-NC recognized Goldsboro’s Center Street as a Great Main Street in the Making. According to local legend, in 1847 civic boosters put moonshine in the Town well to encourage people to vote for Goldsboro as the seat of Wayne County. The strategy worked, and that civic pride lives on today in the exciting work that Goldsboro is undertaking to revitalize its historic downtown. In 2006, Goldsboro hired Allison Platt and Associates to work with the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation and the City to prepare a Downtown Master Plan. The signature project for implementing the plan is a four-block transformation of Center Street. Improvements include new roundabouts, public art, bike lanes, wide sidewalks, mid-block crosswalks, underground utilities, Wi-Fi, game stations, shade trees, and a 12-foot high granite water fountain. The result is an Extreme Streetscape Makeover that highlights the power of place making to bring people downtown and energize the historic heart of a community. To undertake the project, the city invested $6 million in local funds, which so far has catalyzed more than $10 million in private investment, and enabled the city to win a $10 million TIGER grant. But the outcome was not always certain. In 2013, progress on the project depended on a critical vote of the city council to provide a $3.5 million match for the TIGER grant application, along with another $500,000 to ensure that the project was...

APA-NC Celebrates Great Places at Town Hall Day

On March 18th, APA-NC celebrated Town Hall Day in Raleigh by joining with legislators to recognize the 2015 winners of the Great Places in North Carolina initiative. Senator Tamara Barringer and Representative Sarah Stevens welcomed all to the Legislative Building to celebrate the dynamic partnerships that bring together local and state governments. Program Chair Jason Burdette provided an overview of the Great Places in North Carolina program describing this year’s new categories: Great Greenways and Great Historic Rehabilitations. Incoming APA-NC Chapter President John Morck introduced all of the winning communities—Asheboro, Belmont, Goldsboro, Kinston, New Bern, Roanoke Rapids, and West Jefferson. Representatives from each community shared with those attendance a few words about what makes their respective place great. Behind every great place is North Carolinians working together to improve their community. APA-NC was pleased to join with legislators to celebrate these collaborative planning efforts. Legislators in attendance included Rep. Michael Wray, Rep. Pat Hurley, Rep. John Torbett, Rep. Dana Bumgardner, Rep. Allen McNeill, Rep. George Graham, Rep. Jonathan Jordan, Rep. Michael Speciale, Sen. Kathy Harrington, and Sen. Angela Bryant. North Carolina Secretary of Cultural Resources Susan Kluttz concluded the Great Places Legislative Event by highlighting the importance of restoring historic tax credits and developing planning partnerships to the creation of great...

Great Places 2015 Winners

Professional’s Category West Jefferson West Jefferson was built around the railroad with the structure of the streets and buildings all constructed to serve the railroad. The town maintains some of that early railroad town character, but has worked to reshape the town into a viable destination. The town worked to improve the street network, added public art and public space all in an effort to revitalize the town. West Jefferson plays host to visitors all year long and hospitality is the town’s business. During the holidays, the town is alive with shoppers and every car in town is donned with a Christmas tree. Ashe County is the top producer of trees in the country and people come to get one fresh. In fall, people come to enjoy the changing colors of the trees. You can experience the color on any number of hiking trails but the same view can be found on Jefferson Ave. The Centennial Celebration this year also hopes to draw the community in and those that have called West Jefferson home. Jefferson Ave was made a great place because of the work ethic and community spirit that went into the town. Planning played a key role in laying out the town’s vision of a safe and attractive downtown. These well laid plans became a reality as the town worked with NCDOT and other stakeholders to slow traffic and improve pedestrian access in town. Asheboro Sunset Avenue has stood the test of time. Once home to the many manufacturing facilities that upheld the area’s economy, the downsizing of the textile industry left many downtown stores vacant. After...