Belhaven tapped for faceliftPublished 10:08pm Thursday, August 15, 2013
The N.C. Department of Commerce selected Belhaven to be a part of its Small Town Main Street program, and Mayor Adam O’Neal says it could not have happened at a better time.
“I think the Small Town Main Street program is gonna help us get the word out for Belhaven,” he said. “It’s part of a renaissance. We, as a community, have worked very hard to bring Belhaven back to what it used to be, (and) the town is elated about the award.”
Belhaven, Hayesville, Marshville, Mayodan, Robersonville and Valdese were selected through a competitive application process that included 18 communities from across the state.
“Small towns across North Carolina continue to lead by example,” said Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. “By incorporating a blend of arts and cultural amenities into our towns, we will continue to provide a vibrant Main Street setting for emerging business leaders and active citizens.”
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. The program focuses on organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring of the town.
“What we’re hoping for is a new face to downtown as well as business ideas,” O’Neal said. “The town used to have a population of 2,000. Now, it’s around 1,650. There used to be more businesses in town; we used to be a hub for the seafood business in our area, and that industry is just completely gone.”
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