“This is a powerful resource for us,” Mayor Gladys Dean said. “It fits nicely with our goal of wanting to increase the quality of life for all of the residents of our community.”
The Small Town Main Street Program is an initiative for smaller communities that focuses on creating new jobs and investment by helping revitalize downtowns. Maxton joins the communities of Benson, Burnsville, Granite Falls, Hamlet and Roseboro as recent additions to the program.
“The Main Street program has a proven track record of achievement in revitalizing downtowns across North Carolina,” state Commerce Secretary Jim Fain said in a news release. “Communities in the program have experienced a renewed sense of pride and improved economic activity.”
Town Manager Katrina Tatum spoke of the good news during the town board meeting Tuesday night.
“The Small Town Main Street Program addresses the growing number of small rural towns that need downtown development assistance, but are not likely due to size or resource limitations to pursue the regular Main Street program,” she said. “Selected communities receive on-site technical assistance from the Small Town Main Street staff (in areas) including organizational development, market analysis, business assistance, promotions and design.”
Tatum noted that Maxton does not have to put up any matching money to participate.
A day-long meeting was set for Sept. 24 when state officials will meet with local officials and community residents to explain the program and begin forming a community organization to help carry out the revitalization effort.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners were also updated on the town’s recent receipt of more than a $90,000 federal grant that will be used to renovate 10 single-family residences in the Graham Street area.
“We are pursuing every avenue we can to get grants,” Tatum told the board. “We’ve got momentum going here in Maxton. We want the town to grow and prosper.”
In other business Tuesday:
— Commissioner Vivian Brown Morrison announced that the town recently received an N.C. STEP program 21st Century Grant. The four-year grant is for $78,000 and will be used toward an after-school program targeting youths ages 14 to 18.
— The commissioners approved the town’s participation in the Wellness Initiative sponsored by the North Carolina League of Municipalities. The league is now offering the program to the town free of charge for each employee currently enrolled in the league’s medical and worker’s comp programs.
— The board authorized that a date be set for the unveiling of an N.C. Highway Historical Marker Program sign at the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport. The sign, which will at the U.S. 74 and Airport Road interchange, will recognize the airport’s history as a military air base.
— The commissioners approved an agreement with the state Department of Transportation that allows the town to secure funds and assistance in removing debris that results from a storm that prompts a state-of-emergency declaration.