The City of Lenoir Main Street Department has once again been designated as an Accredited Main Street America™ program in 2023. This accreditation is Main Street America’s top-tier recognition.
The City of Lenoir became North Carolina's twelfth Main Street America Community in 1984. Since then, the number of Main Street and Small Town Main Street communities has grown to 70.
Main Street Director Kaylynn Horn said that accreditation is not a given, and staff has to work every year to meet specific benchmarks.
"What I am most proud of with this designation is that it takes many people in the community to reach these benchmarks," Director Horn said. "It illustrates that all of us working together - volunteers and boards, businesses and property owners, City Council and Staff, and many others - can create impact and make a difference. Maintaining this accreditation is something that all of us can be proud of."
|A boy rides off a ramp during the 2nd Annual Lenoir Bicycle Festival held June 3, 2023, in Downtown Lenoir.||Children sing on the Downtown stage during Light Up Lenoir, Nov. 17, 2022.|
|In February, Main Street staff encourage people to write a love letter to their favorite downtown business or businesses.||People march in the Mad Hatter's Pumpkin Patch Parade, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Downtown Lenoir.|
The Main Street staff, community members, and downtown businesses have a lot to be proud of. Since 2018, Lenoir's Main Street program has won eight N.C. Main Street awards including:
- Best Economic Recovery Initiative: Pivots, Participation, & Patronage (PPP) with Digital Platforms Initiatives
- Best Endangered Property Rescue: Stine's Ice Cream Parlor Building, 818 Harper Ave.
- Best Volunteer Recruitment: Training and Recognition Development Program ~ Be A Part of What Makes This Work
- Best Downtown Special Event: Carolina Tattoo & Arts Gathering
- Best Branding & Image-Building Campaign: TOGETHER WE CREATE Downtown Lenoir Branding
- Best Innovation: Moving Lenoir to the Second Floor Initiative
- Best Endangered Property Rescue: Little Building with the BIG Impact - 122 Boundary Street
- Best Downtown Special Event: North Carolina Gravity Games
Thanks to Main Street staff, Lenoir is one of 12 communities across the country that was awarded a National Park Service / Main Street America Façade Improvement grant. The grant funding was awarded to make improvements to 814 Harper Ave. The building now houses the Wolf Moon Salt Cave and Stress Reduction Center.
"Economic development through historic preservation is at the core of what we do," Main Street Community Engagement Coordinator Matthew Anthony said. "This grant helps to put our historic properties back into good, productive use and upgrade facades."
Two more properties are currently under review by the grant administrators.
|814 Harper Avenue before improvements|
|Wolf Moon Salt Cave and Stress Reduction Center opened at 814 Harper Ave. in July 2022.|
Main Street staff also manages the Building Upgrades and Improvements for Lenoir Downtown program (BUILD). The BUILD program provides matching grants to encourage property owners to make improvements to downtown buildings. The goal of the program is to make downtown buildings more attractive for new, existing, and expanding businesses.
Main Street organizes and assists with many events in Downtown Lenoir including:
- North Carolina Gravity Games
- North Carolina Blackberry Festival
- Wood, Fire, Smoke Festival
- Carolina Tattoo & Arts Gathering
- Downtown Cruise-Ins
- Lenoir Bicycle Festival
- Summer Music/Movie Madness
- Light Up Lenoir and holiday lights downtown
- Starry Night Christmas Parade
Most recently, Main Street staff worked to develop the Downtown Lenoir Social District. Staff are currently helping create a new Downtown Lenoir Master Plan. Click the following links to learn more about those projects:
Mayor Joe Gibbons said the City's Main Street staff stay very busy taking care of all those programs, events, promotions, and projects.
"There is a lot that goes into managing a Main Street program, and Kaylynn and Matthew do a wonderful job," Mayor Gibbons said. "They manage economic development programs, they organize events, they promote downtown businesses. They love Lenoir and want to see Downtown prosper. I'm really proud of the work they do, and they deserve to be recognized."
For more information about downtown events, programs, businesses, and opportunities, visit www.DowntownLenoirNC.com. For more information about Main Street America, visit www.mainstreet.org.
|Main Street staff help promote Small Business Saturday every year in Downtown Lenoir.||Staff with the WNC Sculpture Center pour iron into molds during the Wood, Fire Smoke Festival held Oct. 8, 2022, in Downtown Lenoir.|
|Hundreds of people walk on North Main Street during the 2022 N.C. Blackberry Festival, July 15, 2022.||The graphic above shows the North Carolina Main Street and Small Town Main Street Communities as of August 2022.|