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...

Great Places NC 2014 Winners

Professionals’ Category: Great Main St Apex North Salem Street is the heart of Apex’s historic downtown. Local restaurants, fashionable boutiques, funky art galleries, and eclectic antique shops provide residents and visitors a variety of shopping, dining, and socializing opportunities. The historic Union Depot at 220 North Salem Street is home to the Apex Chamber of Commerce and the original Town Hall at 237 North Salem Street was renovated as the award-winning Halle Cultural Arts Center. The Halle Cultural Arts Center has ever-changing artistic displays and music, theater, and dance performances. The preservation of historic North Salem Street has been central to the identity of Apex as a charming railroad town which residents and visitors describe as having “small town character”. North Salem Street is what residents visualize when they fondly call Apex “The Peak of Good Living”. Hendersonville Historic Downtown Hendersonville is the heart of an economically and culturally vibrant mountain community. Year-round, downtown plays host to concerts, parades, art, craft, garden and antique shows. Whether it is serving as the core of the North Carolina Apple Festival over Labor Day weekend, kicking off spring with the Garden Jubilee, or highlighting the holidays with the Holiday Tree Lighting, downtown is the year-round center for our community’s celebrations. This role as the premier shopping and entertainment district in the county compliments and supports a robust regional tourism industry. Downtown serves as a hub for this important economic driver. As visitors explore Henderson County, with its variety of natural and cultural activities, Main Street provides a distinguishing feature of their experience. As a uniquely designed space, as an entertainment district and...

Great Places NC 2013 Winners

Blowing Rock Blowing Rock is a picturesque town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Main Street is the heart of the “village,” an energetic place with a mix of unique shops, galleries, independent restaurants, and the lovingly-maintained Memorial Park. Events like concerts in the park and downtown festivals bring life to Main Street, while friendly locals make everyone feel welcome. A major preservation effort has been in place for the past several years to protect the proud historic heritage of the village and maintain the community character that so enhances this small town. Main Street in Blowing Rock is the anchor of the community. It acts as the center of town, with neighborhood roads leading away from it like spokes around the hub of a wheel. Its historic buildings and charming scenery provide attraction to visitors and a sense of home to locals. Main Street is also the social and business center – a place for work and play. The bulk of the town’s businesses are located on Main Street, as is the Post Office, Town Hall, Police Department, Community Library, and two of the larger churches. People gather on Main Street at Town Hall for meetings and functions, and in Memorial Park for celebrations and recreation. Memorial Park even serves as a meeting place for kids after school, as they can walk there from the school grounds. Town festivals and events feature Main Street locations for various happenings because it’s the heart of the town, and visitors feel connected to the community when they spend time there. Clayton Riverwood is the community for today’s families....

Great Places 2012 Winners

Asheville Lexington Avenue is alive with activity, and a great metaphor for what Asheville is as a community. Threatened by a mall thirty years ago, the street has become the cultural vibe of downtown and the main canvas of street art, local shopping, local food, local beer, and local celebration. This wasn’t accomplished by large government intervention or even a Main Streets program, but by local entrepreneurs. Lower rents have facilitated broad experimentation in private and public ventures resulting in a functional and successful street experience with minimalist design. It includes an almost continuous facade of storefronts along the sidewalk, occupied by an eclectic variety of shops, clubs, galleries, and restaurants, as well as residential and office uses. The spirit of artistic expression is embodied in the work of local artists who formed the Asheville Mural Project (AMP) to reinvent space under the I-240 highway with a celebratory mural. In turn, events such as the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival celebrate all things “Asheville”, with music, craft beers, and art that is all made in and around the city: A funky and creative place, Lexington Avenue tells a story of making something out of nothing. Charlotte Charlotte’s Tryon Street, the epicenter of the Queen City, is a dynamic and vibrant place, emblematic of a major financial, cultural, entertainment, and educational center. The focal point of the community since its founding, the intersection of Tryon and Trade Streets, is the fast-beating heart of Charlotte and the favored location for festivals, community events, as well as the front porch of urban people watching. Following a ridge to a hilltop—the highest...
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