Fuquay-Varina Downtown announced that two local projects were recognized for their excellence in the 2012 N.C. Main Street Awards competition. The Fuquay-Varina Downtown Branding Campaign won top honors, receiving an Award of Merit in the category of Best Downtown Image-Building Campaign. In addition to the winning entries, there were several other worthy projects that the jury singled out for commendation. One of those projects was the En Plein Air Paint Off, which received a Certificate of Special Recognition in the category of Best Downtown Special Event or Event Series.
The N.C. Main Street program’s annual awards competition recognizes the outstanding achievements of particpating communities in categories reflecting the four areas of focus for Main Street: organization, design, economic restructuring and promotion. A panel that included staff from the Appalachian Regional Commission, Office of Community Planning, Office of Urban Development and Davie County Community Development Corporation reviewed the nominations and selected the winners.
Following the judging, Office of Urban Development Director Liz Parham remarked, “Some of the most creative and innovative projects taking place in North Carolina’s downtowns can be found in the state’s Main Street communities. Main Street Awards honor the very best of these projects, which build on a community’s local heritage, enhance its physical assets, adapt and preserve its historic structures, and develop public-private partnerships, all with the goal of sustaining business, creating jobs and improving quality of life in North Carolina’s small cities and towns. Main Street Award winners are the projects we point to year after year as models for other communities working to build strong local economies.”
In their remarks, the judges commended the Fuquay-Varina Downtown Branding Campaign for the use of public focus groups and cited the good increase of sponsors that resulted from the branding. They noted the consistent use of color, fonts and other design elements in the branding materials.
Of the En Plein Air Paint-off, jury members said, “This is a neat event that will keep on going.” They saw it as a “creative and innovative way to bring art downtown” and “really liked having the pieces enlarged and placed outside.” The jury also liked the fact that the event was “original,” “authentic” and “sustainable” and saw is as a “good tie back to their vision.”
On Jan. 31 Parham and N.C. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dale Carroll presented the Main Street Awards during the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Ceremony at the Meroney Theater in Salisbury. Ten winning projects received Awards of Merit, and two additional entries received honorable mention, earning Certificates of Special Recognition. Projects receiving these honors are:
Best Public-Private Partnership in Downtown Revitalization
* Goldsboro – Arts Downtown Award
* Mooresville – Downtownie™ Passport Project Award
Best Volunteer Recruitment, Training and Recognition
* Goldsboro – What’s it Take? Award
Best Infill Building Project
* Clayton – Clayton Law Enforcement Center Award
Best Downtown Special Event or Event Series
* Elizabeth City – The Nell Cropsey Ghost Walk Award
* Lexington – BBQ Capital Cook-Off Award
* Fuquay-Varina – En Plein Air Paint Off Special Recognition
Best Downtown Image-Building Campaign
* Elizabeth City – Elizabeth City H.A.S. It! Campaign and Blog Award
* Fuquay-Varina – Downtown Branding Campaign Award
Best Outdoor Space Improvement
* Statesville – Downtown Statesville Streetscape Improvement Project Award
* Clayton – Mosaic Community Garden Special Recognition
Best Public Building Improvement
* Statesville – Statesville City Hall Award
The Main Street program, based on economic revitalization within the context of historic preservation, was created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to share an effective downtown revitalization strategy which they had developed for smaller towns. Selected as an original Main Street state in 1980, North Carolina has seen its program grow from five communities to 61. The economic impact of the program has grown as well. Combined public and private investment in North Carolina Main Street downtowns totals more than $1.97 billion dollars.
The North Carolina Main Street program provides technical assistance, education and networking opportunities to its communities. The program is part of the Department of Commerce’s Office of Urban Development, Division of Community Assistance.