A view of the historic Saluda downtown, which will be the focus of the N.C. Small Town Main Street program’s efforts. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

Archived Story

Saluda chosen for Small Town Main Street

Published 5:14pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The City of Saluda heard recently that it has been selected as one of five new communities participating in the N.C. Small Town Main Street program.
Saluda, Cherryville, Elizabethtown, Richlands and Spencer were selected through a competitive application process that included 10 communities from across the state. Designation of these five new towns brings the total number of the state’s Small Town Main Street communities to 44.
“I was really pleased to hear that we were chosen for the program, especially since we had been told towns are often not selected the first time they apply,” said Saluda Commissioner Lynn Cass. “With our historic registered downtown, I thought Saluda was a good fit for the program, and I think it will help us make the town the best it can be.”
Operated by the state’s Office of Urban Development, the Small Town Main Street program provides downtown revitalization assistance to selected smaller towns (under 7,500 in population) that lack the resources to pursue the N.C. Main Street program. The program began in eastern North Carolina in 2003 and was expanded to include the entire state in 2007.
“Being selected for the Small Town Main Street program gives us an opportunity to look at the best ways to help our town and its businesses thrive,” said Saluda Mayor Fred Baisden.
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.
“With help from the program’s staff, we’ll look at all aspects of business in Saluda, including income streams, rents, street facades and characteristics unique to seasonal businesses,” Baisden said. “We’ll then map out a plan for improvements the town could make to promote financial health, especially in these challenging economic times.”
Baisden said the city’s board of commissioners plans to pass an official resolution in support of participating in the program at its next regular meeting on Monday, Aug. 13. After that, he said, the first meeting will be scheduled with the Small Town Main Street staff to begin the planning process.
Saluda is the second local town to be selected for the Small Town Main Street program. Tryon has been a participant since 2007.
For more information about the Small Town Main Street program, visit www.nccommerce.com/MainStreet, or contact Liz Parham, director of the Office of Urban Development, at 919-571-4900 or lparham@nccommerce.com.

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