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Local officials receive Main Street Awards

ELIZABETH HEFFNER

Staff Writer

Community advocates for local businesses and downtown revitalization efforts in Lincolnton were honored with 2013 North Carolina Main Street Awards. The program serves to help small towns preserve their history and utilize local resources to create vibrant central business districts.

Director of Business and Community Development Brad Guth and Lincoln Cultural Center Director Cathy Davis were among this year’s winners.

According to Davis, inclement winter weather in New Bern the week of Jan. 27 forced event officials to cancel the weekend conference. However, the 2014 N.C. Main Street Conference and Awards Program has been rescheduled to March 31 and April 1.

Lincolnton’s Pots on Parade project received recognition in the “Promotion-Best Downtown Branding and Image-Building Campaign” category, while the Lovable Lincolnton Possibility Tour was recognized with the “Organization-Best Innovation” award.

“There was a lot of community involvement and volunteers for both projects,” Guth said. “Lots of involvement makes for great projects.”

Lincolnton’s Pots on Parade is said to serve as a public art and tourism initiative to draw attention to the Catawba Valley pottery tradition as well as to revive interest in the envisioned Catawba Valley Pottery Center.

“The Pots on Parade is very unique with its local historical aspect,” Guth said. “When I moved here 15 years ago, there was no evidence of the pottery tradition in Lincoln County. It existed, but it was not showcased. Now, we have pottery showcased downtown to make it real for visitors and local residents unaware of the tradition.”

The 14 pots are displayed in the first three blocks of East Main Street. The project was started in the fall of 2011 and was completed last September.

The Lovable Lincolnton Possibility Tour consists of seven potential redevelopment projects in the downtown area designed to reinvigorate interest in the downtown vision developed by the citizens of Lincolnton.A large vision board is located at each proposed site, including an architectural rendering of how the site would appear if redeveloped. The projects involve either the renovation of an existing historic building or new construction on an empty infill site. The seven sites include a multiplex movie theater, a bed and breakfast inn, The Catawba Valley Pottery Center, the Depot Incubator Kitchen, B. Lincoln Esq. Local Foods Restaurant, The Willowbrook and Lincolnton Lofts/Restaurant row.

Guth added that the Possibility Tour focuses on three ‘R’s: retail, residential and restaurants.

“A movie theater and more restaurants were the biggest items identified in the vision planning,” Guth said.

Through her work with the Downtown Development Association, Davis was also recognized as a 2013 Main Street Champion. She has served as a volunteer for the Downtown Development Association since 2005.

The Main Street Awards website states that Main Street Champions are recognized for their excellence in downtown revitalization efforts in categories such as promotion, organization, design and economic restructuring.

“Cathy is an outstanding volunteer,” Guth said. “She has a true love of Lincolnton. Lincolnton is a better place because of her. Her commitment, work and contribution of talent to our downtown have made a significant impact on our projects this past year.”

“I do it because I love the community, not for the recognition,” Davis said. “Lincolnton appears to be thriving,” Davis said. “Our town has a great deal more appeal than we realize, because we see it every day.”

 

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