The renovated Tryon Depot opened to the public in January 2011 and has since captured a North Carolina Small Town Main Street Award of Merit in the category of economic restructuting. (photo by Andy Millard)

Historic Depot wins Main Street Award

Published 4:18pm Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Elizabeth Parham, director of the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Community Assistance and Office of Urban Development announced on Friday that Tryon’s Historic 1906 Depot renovation project has been awarded the prestigious 2012 North Carolina Small Town Main Street Award in the category of Economic Restructuring.

The Award of Merit is one of four annual awards conferred by the North Carolina Small Town Main Street (NCSTMS) program in the categories of organization (La Grange, N.C.), economic restructuring (Tryon, N.C.), promotion (Wilkesboro, N.C.) and design (Highlands, N.C.). The award distinguishes Tryon’s local revitalization efforts as stellar among the 105 communities in the NCSTMS program.

In addition to nominating the Tryon Depot for this year’s award, Crys Armbrust, Tryon’s Business and Tourism officer, Main Street manager, and then president of the Tryon Downtown Development Association (TDDA), initiated the discussion proposing the Depot renovation project to local business owner Andy Millard in early spring of 2010.

Millard, recognizing the efficacy and feasibility of the project when he ran the numbers, agreed to undertake the project, and shortly thereafter, he entered into formal discussions with the Town of Tryon to acquit the project in consideration of a long-term lease of the property.

The completely renovated Tryon Depot opened to the public in January 2011 and is a testament to the successful collaborative work of many. In this public/private investment, not only was a significant local landmark saved, that landmark now yields multiple uses, beyond its primary function as a place of business.

Moreover, the project involved the cooperative spirit of many individuals and organizations coming together and leveraging resources to accomplish the desired goal.

Prominent in this list is the Town of Tryon, the TDDA and the local STMS committee, the NC Rural Center, Brady/Trakas Architects and Mike Karaman Properties, among others.

On the public investment side, the Depot project promotes awareness of and appreciation for Tryon’s historic architectural catalog and celebrates the selfless generosity of spirit by individuals who have contributed to the preservation of our community’s architectural assets.

Further, it recognizes the powerful positive communal efforts that these preservation efforts have in Tryon and Polk County to build citizen awareness of our local history and to instill community pride through our collective sense of heritage.

On the private investment side, the Depot project demonstrates how a single individual — in this instance, Millard — whose proactive civic generosity, by means of personal vision, has considerably enhanced a significant, publicly-held, historic property and  created a vibrant business and gathering focal point in downtown Tryon.

Millard will receive the 2012 NCSTMS Award of Merit in Economic Restructuring on Jan. 31 upcoming in Salisbury, N.C. at the annual meeting of the Small Town Main Street  program.
– article submitted by Crys Armbrust

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