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Main Street Roanoke Rapids

While Roanoke Rapids was spared from the ravages of Hurricane Florence, others weren’t.

That’s why Main Street Roanoke Rapids is collecting items to send to its fellow Main Street partners in New Bern and Morehead City.

A collection box has been set up in the lobby of city hall at 1040 Roanoke Avenue.

“Roanoke Rapids is one of almost 90 active North Carolina Main Street communities across our beautiful state,” said Christina Caudle, the city’s main street development director. “We are very fortunate that we did not sustain any damage as a result of Hurricane Florence.”

Many communities within the Main Street network were not so lucky, Caudle said. “In fact, 40 percent of the North Carolina Main Street communities have reported damages to their historic downtowns since Florence first hit the coast.”

Caudle said this number will continue to rise as many rivers are expected to crest by the end of the week. “Downtown managers, especially located in coastal communities, are reporting major structural damage that will likely result in long term or even permanent small business closings. Even more tragic are the stories of individuals in their communities that have lost everything – both personally and potentially professionally – as a result of this natural disaster. It will take years for these communities to recover.”

The supply drive is being sponsored by the Main Street Roanoke Rapids Board of Directors.

Caudle said of New Bern and Morehead City, “Both cities experienced a tremendous amount of flooding.”

There was also a large amount of wind damage, she said.

Caudle said there is a bond between towns and cities in the Main Street program. “We do a lot together. We have forums we use daily and quarterly regional meetings. We have a conference annually and have manager meetings. We’re able to see a lot of what they’ve done. I can’t imagine how high their level of stress is.”

Caudle said she and the board believe “you should always help your neighbors. We would like to think if we were in the same situation other Main Street partners would help us. It’s the least we can do.”

In two days alone in New Bern there has been $46.2 million in residential damage and $20.9 million in commercial damage. “It’s going to keep climbing,” she said.

The attached flyer has a list of items the two cities need the most. “We’re going to see what we can come up with. We’re going to get the supplies to them as quickly as we can.”

There is no specific end date for the supply drive, Caudle said, and the items may be brought to the city hall lobby between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For those who can’t get to city hall the Zipsy food delivery company will pick up the items free of charge. Zipsy can be reached at 252-578-2249.

“As we all know first-hand, rural areas and communities have limited local resources so every item we collect will be helpful in the coming weeks,” she said. Read at rrspin.com

The water feature at the 1026 Roanoke Avenue urban green space has been installed and the city’s public works department is working on tweaks to the system which allows the water to fall down metal screening and into a tank.

This will not be the only work done on the water feature as a sculpture will be made to accompany it, Main Street Development Director Christina Caudle said today.

Main Street Roanoke Rapids was awarded a $2,000 grant from the Halifax County Arts Council to cover the artist fee.

Chris Fromal was selected to do the sculpture which will fit in with the theme of the open space — the river, rail and textiles.

Caudle said metal from the rails and textile mills will be used for the sculpture. Fromal is expected to be brought in on the project next week. It is expected the sculpture will be in abstract form.

“It’s really cool,” Caudle said upon seeing the water feature in action.

Caudle has already seen people making use of the open space since it opened in conjunction with Arts on the Avenue in May. “I’ve seen photographers doing senior portraits, I’ve seen citizens utilizing the parking in the back and civic organizations using it for presentations. There have been several people interested in using it for events this fall. The project has exceeded our expectations. It’s a great space in the heart of the historic district.”

Caudle has tentatively scheduled an appreciation event at the space on September 27 in which the partners who helped bring it to fruition will be honored. It is expected the event will be held at 5 p.m. and more details will be forthcoming.

The water feature was born from a conversation of how to make the open space better as well as a way to drown out traffic noises.

Roanoke Rapids Public Works Director Larry Chalker said planning and design of the water feature began around three months ago when employees built a prototype out of scrap.

Once the prototype was deemed right, construction of the feature began. “We have the best employees and I’m proud of that,” Chalker said.

The water feature will eventually be backlit to make a color splash of the water.

Public works has left its fingerprints on much of the work which led to the completion of the space. “We’re very proud to be a part of it,” Chalker said. “Our sweat is all over the place. It’s beautiful. It’s come together.”

Said Caudle: “This is a textbook example of why it was so important that we create a public-private partnership.”

 

The third annual Arts on the Avenue was held this evening between the 900 and 1100 blocks of Roanoke Avenue.

The event coincided with the Student Art Show held at the Halifax County Arts Council across the street from the recently opened 1026 Roanoke Avenue green space.

View the gallery here

Thursday’s Arts on the Avenue will showcase the work of some 20 artists, photographers, singers and musicians as well as give the public a view of the 1026 Roanoke Avenue green space.

The green space, Main Street Development Director Christina Caudle said today, is open. All that remains is installation of the water feature in the summer and finishing the paint job on the front of the facade.

Lights have been strung and murals by local artist Napoleon Hill have been hung.

View article and gallery at rrspin

Roanoke Rapids was among the 47 North Carolina communities designated as an accredited Main Street America program.

The National Main Street Center made the designations, the state Department of Commerce announced in a statement Wednesday.

It is the fourth straight year Main Street Roanoke Rapids has received accreditation, said Main Street Development Director Christina Caudle.

“We were very excited and honored to have earned this accreditation for the fourth year in a row,” she said today. “The Main Street Roanoke Rapids non-profit works diligently in partnership with the city of Roanoke Rapids to maintain this accreditation. I give continued thanks to all the board members, volunteers and city officials who work to maintain this accreditation.”

Caudle said the designation “ensures our organization is working as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Each year, the National Main Street Center and commerce’s Main Street & Rural Planning Center partner to announce the list of all accredited Main Street America programs.

“The Main Street & Rural Planning Center expands our rural and small-town communities’ capacity to take on economic development and revitalization projects,” said Secretary of Commerce Anthony M. Copeland. “The communities accredited today have worked with the center to establish practices that will fuel their efforts to bring jobs and development to their town.”

“We are thrilled to honor this year’s 829 nationally accredited Main Street America programs for their commitment to preservation-based economic development and the revitalization of their commercial districts,” said Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “The power of Main Street shines across the country through these vibrant communities, who have all worked to generate impressive economic returns, preserve community character, and celebrate local history.”

Each community’s performance is annually evaluated by the North Carolina Main Street staff in partnership with the National Main Street Center. The staff identifies the local programs that meet 10 national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

In fiscal year 2017, North Carolina Main Street programs generated $200 million in local public and private reinvestment, helped open 319 net new businesses, generated 2,000 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 259 buildings, and clocked 139,000 volunteer hours.

“We are proud of our communities that have worked hard to identify economic development strategies to transform their downtown districts through action within the framework of the Main Street Four Point Approach of Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion and Organization,” said Liz Parham, director of Main Street & Rural Planning Center.

Since 1980, North Carolina communities using the Main Street America program model have leveraged more than $2.75 billion in new public and private investment, generated 23,472 net new jobs and 5,883 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 6,000 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.