Restoration projects win state awards

Three downtown projects won awards for excellence last week during the 2010 N.C. Main Street Awards competition in Shelby.
The Downtown Ghost Walk and Friday Night Out series, the renovation of the Norvell Theater, and improvements to a city parking lot were recognized.

Salisbury won two of the 11 Awards of Merit and one of the five Certificates of Special Recognition at the statewide event.

Regarding the Norvell Theater, the awards jury observed that Salisbury continues to create venues that attract diverse populations to downtown. Cultural amenities are an important quality of life issue for Salisbury, the jury said.

Judges noted the authenticity of the Downtown Ghost Walk and cited the Friday Night Out Series as an effective way to attract shoppers.

They also praised the Central City Parking Lot on East Innes Street as a classic example of what communities should do when implementing public parking. This project involved simple improvements that had a big impact, creating a parking lot that feels safe and inviting.

Awards included:

Best adaptive reuse project: Winner, the Norvell Theater (Piedmont Players Theater Board of Trustees)

Best downtown event series: Winner, Downtown Ghost Walk (Karen Bowyer) and Friday Night Out Series (Downtown Salisbury Inc.)

Best Outdoor Space Improvement: Honorable mention, Central City Parking Lot (City of Salisbury)

N.C. Main Streets annual awards competition recognizes the outstanding achievements of participating communities in categories reflecting the four areas emphasized by Main Street: organization, design, economic restructuring and promotion.

This years entries were judged by a panel including staff from the Piedmont Triad Council of Governments, Appalachian Regional Commission, Division of Community Assistances piedmont regional office and the N.C. Main Street program.

The Main Street Awards are the epitome of innovation, quality, partnerships and sustainability, Liz Parham, Office of Urban Development director, said in a press release. They represent extraordinary successes that are entrenched in hard work and commitment to community, and they represent North Carolinas finest examples of downtown revitalization initiatives.

The N.C. Main Street Program provides technical assistance, education and networking opportunities to its communities.

The program is part of the Department of Commerces Division of Community Assistance.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

Salisbury City Council member Brian Miller was honored last week as a 2010 Main Street Champion at the N.C. Main Street Annual Awards Dinner.

Downtown Salisbury Inc. selected Miller for the honor in appreciation of his contributions to the downtown revitalization process.

Miller, a member of the Downtown Salisbury  board of directors for 12 years, has encouraged the board to think beyond the bounds of tradition and challenged the organization to achieve goals previously thought unattainable, according to Randy Hemann, executive director for Downtown Salisbury Inc.

Miller was one of two local bankers who quietly solicited the support of peers at five other banks to form the loan pool that allowed Downtown Salisbury Inc. to purchase the Empire Hotel in 2007.

Elected to City Council in 2009, Miller has used the opportunity to advocate for worthy community projects, including downtown development.

Miller was one of 33 downtown advocates honored at the dinner.
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