Contact: Dan Howe
Downtown Franklin Association
- Downtown Franklin Association and the City of Franklin receive awards for building rehabilitations and volunteer investment –
Richmond, VA – On Thursday, March 31, Downtown Franklin Association and the City of Franklin were presented with Virginia Main Street Milestone Achievement Awards for the investment of more than 40,000 Volunteer Hours since 1997 and the completion of more than 250 building rehabilitations since being designated a Main Street Community in 1985. The awards were presented at Richmond’s historic Jefferson Hotel.
At the ceremony, focused on the results of Main Street efforts, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Development, Mary Rae Carter spoke to the audience of 95 downtown revitalization volunteers and professionals about the visible results of their leadership. “You are creating places where people want to be,” she said. “And you’ve often been at the forefront of community and economic development, from your early promotion of farmers’ markets to advocating for walkable and liveable downtowns.”
Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Director Bill Shelton pointed to downtown progress through the numbers. “In the last five years, Designated Main Street Communities have sparked more than $275 million in private investment in their districts,” said Shelton. “As a result, last year there was a net collective gain of 663 jobs across the 21 Main Street downtown districts.”
Preservationist Jean Carroon, FAIA, LEED AP, author of the book, Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings emphasized the impacts of the group’s work in the sustainability of their communities. “People often forget that before we recycle, we can reduce consumption and reuse existing products,” said Carroon. “A building is the one of the largest handmade objects we have. Reusing a building has an environmental impact far greater than recycling an aluminum can.”
The Downtown Franklin Association Prides itself in the partnership that has evolved among The Franklin Southampton Chamber Commerce, Franklin Southampton Economic Development INC., the business community, citizens, and visitors. Well-orchestrated weekly community musical events that fill the needs of a diverse citizenry occur between May and September each year. The downtown offers a variety of places to eat, shop, and live in a safe, aesthetically pleasing environment that provides an atmosphere that is vibrant and enjoyably fun! Come to downtown Franklin if you’re looking for the place to see and be seen.
Currently there are 21 designated Virginia Main Street communities: Abingdon, Altavista, Bedford, Blackstone, Berryville, Culpeper, Franklin, Harrisonburg, Luray, Lynchburg, Manassas, Marion, Martinsville, Orange, Radford, Rocky Mount, South Boston, Staunton, Warrenton, Waynesboro, and Winchester.
The Virginia Main Street program, managed by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, provides assistance and training to help communities increase the economic vitality of their downtown commercial districts. Virginia Main Street uses the National Main Street model to help communities revitalize their downtowns by focusing on their unique heritage and attributes. The program helps communities implement a comprehensive revitalization strategy that creates economic growth and pride in downtowns.
For more information about the Virginia Main Street program, call (804) 371-7030 or visit: www.dhcd.virginia.gov/MainStreet.