ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) -- Elizabethtown is one of five new communities chosen to participate in the state's Office of Urban Development's 2012 Small Town Main Street program.
In addition to the Bladen County town, the Department of Commerce says Cherryville, Richlands, Saluda and Spencer were also selected through a competitive application process that included ten communities from across the state. These additions bring the total number of the state's Small Town Main Street communities to 44.
"We congratulate these communities for their commitment to their downtown districts and the small businesses that are located there,” Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco said in a statement. "These cities and towns understand that a prosperous, sustainable community is only as healthy as its core."
Small Town Main Street, which began in eastern North Carolina in 2003 and was expanded to include the entire state in 2007, provides downtown revitalization assistance to selected smaller towns (under 7,500 in population) that lack the resources to pursue the NC Main Street program.
"It's just as important to recognize the economic opportunities offered in North Carolina's smaller towns," said Liz Parham, director of urban development at the NC Department of Commerce, which oversees the NC Main Street program. "These communities and their leaders work hard to bring jobs and businesses to their downtowns, which strengthens their entire community. Our Small Town Main Street program provides communities with the tools and resources to accomplish their goals."
Participating communities receive two years of concentrated, monthly on-site technical services from Small Town Main Street staff. Following the initial two-year period, communities may choose to continue in the program, receiving more limited services on an as needed basis.