Great Places NC 2014 Winners

Professionals’ Category: Great Main St


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”.

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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 as the home to many unique destinations, downtown supports and strengthens our community’s tourism experience.

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Winston Salem

Fourth Street, in downtown Winston-Salem, is a place to truly live, work, and play. Between Main and Broad Streets, over eight blocks, it is packed with high-rise apartments and condos, coffee shops and bakeries, restaurants and bars, a brewery, art galleries and offices, a park, a gym, an art house movie theater, and the premier performance space of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. It’s the culmination of more than a hundred years of history and the dedication of city leaders to invest in downtown Winston-Salem. Fifteen years ago, Fourth Street was empty after 5:00 p.m., now it’s the heart and soul of Winston-Salem.

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Professionals’ Category: Great Main St “In The Making”


Historic Downtown Wilson is experiencing an exciting renaissance. Nash Street, Wilson’s “main street”, along with Goldsboro, Douglas, and surrounding streets are blossoming with new businesses and redevelopment of our historic buildings. With a one-of-a-kind kinetic sculpture park under construction, we are seeing a cultural and historical vibrancy that has been reinvigorating Wilson’s downtown one building and street at a time! Our current development approach works with the current and future anchors of downtown – previous successful projects and the future Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park (VSWP). And we are filling in the voids in between, resulting in a cohesive and vibrant downtown. Historic Downtown Wilson is being revitalized around a strategy of leveraging the unique community assets of Greenlight (community owned broadband gigabit service) and soon to be built Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park (a world-class sculpture park crowned with world-renowned, Wilson native Vollis Simpson’s artwork) surrounded by a Arts and Innovation District and lined by Main Street, the Avenue of the Sciences and the Avenue of the Arts. We are now seeing private investment in downtown in earnest, with 20 million dollars in historic property redevelopment currently in the works. This is a downtown that is truly becoming the “crossroads of charm and innovation”.

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People’s Choice: Great Main Street


Morganton was selected by the people of North Carolina for its Great Main Street: East and West Union Streets. The historic downtown is flanked by buildings dating to the 1920s including the Historic Burke County Courthouse and the Marquee Cinemas, one of the few downtown theaters left in the state. According to the mayor, “(Downtown) has meant everything to our community. It’s the mecca for Morganton’s existence.”

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People’s Choice: Great Public Place


Burnsville’s Town Square was recognized by online voters as a Great Public Place. Town square is host to a plethora of festivals and fairs, including the Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair with over 200 artists and 25,000 visitors to Burnsville. The craft fair has been held for 50 years in Town Square. The fair is a public celebration of many local working artists, craft studios, and art galleries found in the nearby mountains.

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