ASHEBORO, N.C. — A Randolph County city is receiving a new designation — it’s now recognized as a “Main Street” community.
Main Street is a national and a state-wide program that helps small cities and towns build up their economies while preserving history.
“We have for about 20 years dreamed of being a Main Street program,” said Asheboro Mayor David Smith.
Historic buildings, unique landscaping and vibrant murals line the city’s downtown.
Downtown Asheboro, Smith says, has that small town charm and aesthetic that’s been decades in the making, but at times has been difficult to plan.
“Our downtown is three blocks this way and three blocks this way, which is really strange,” Smith said.
There isn’t much space to build outward. That’s why city leaders are building from within and focusing on existing buildings and old factories.
“With that comes a lot of technical assistance from the state,” Smith said.
The new Main Street designation allows city leaders more opportunities to revitalize downtown and stimulate the economy.
“We have summer concerts here in our bicentennial park that draw thousands of people on Sunday afternoons and we’ve had to cancel them this year,” Smith said.
Which is more important now than ever with the pandemic.
“Our restaurants are struggling. They’re having to adjust, adapt and restructure their methods,” Smith said.
Main Street communities have more access to grants and funding. With a big focus on infrastructure, Smith eventually plans to repave crosswalks and fix sidewalk curbs to make them more accessible.
“Many of those have disappeared with resurfacing projects. Our plan is over the next couple of years to redo all of our crosswalks with the stamped brick pattern,” Smith said.
He also plans to add some flair in honor of the North Carolina Zoo.
“Our crosswalks will have zoo animal footprints in with the brick,” Smith said.
Even though the pandemic has slowed the city’s growth, city leaders continue to hash out the strengths and weaknesses of the area.
The next step for downtown Asheboro is to receive a historic designation to go along with the Main Street classification.