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Kathy Walters, director of the Henderson-Vance Downtown Development Commission (DDC), was on Tuesday’s edition of WIZS’ Town Talk program to discuss the progress being made on reestablishing Henderson and the downtown area to North Carolina Main Street status.
Returning to the DDC in September after previously serving as director in the 90s, Walters said the most important thing downtown can do is to “strategically position ourselves for methodical, careful movement towards the revitalization of this area.”
For the past several years, the DDC director’s position has been funded on a part-time, contract-only basis, an arrangement that prevented Downtown Henderson, in part, from being reinstated in the Main Street Program.
“We are extremely delighted and fortunate to have Kathy on full-time with the DDC again,” said Board Chair Benny Finch in a prior interview with WIZS. “She’s had about 10 years of experience working with the City and she’s very familiar with Downtown Henderson and the Main Street Program.”
A part of the Main Street Program from the mid-1980s until approximately 2010, a lapse in the completion of requirements cost the downtown area the coveted distinction.
“It is requiring a great deal of work from the Board, myself and the City,” Walters said of the reinstatement process. “The main thing is that we are organized, dedicated and working on the Main Street approach.”
One of the more time-consuming tasks, according to Walters, is the Main Street requirement that the City submit an inventory of each building in downtown, including photographs from all sides and an account of the building’s history/purpose.
The benefits, including technical assistance with building restoration and access to grant money, are well worth all of the efforts and are a great starting point for revitalization, according to Walters.
While the assistance the Main Street Program can offer would go a long way to attracting new businesses to downtown and helping existing businesses renovate, Walters said the growth of the area ultimately comes down to the “sustainability of the business and support of the community.”
To hear Walters’ interview in its entirety, please click the play button below. Listen live to WIZS’ Town Talk Monday-Friday at 11 a.m. on 1450AM, 100.1 FM or online at www.wizs.com.
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