Pineville looks at new options for downtown

Pineville leaders are currently looking at many different options, including the North Carolina Small Town Main Street Program, as means of pumping new energy into the downtown area.

Bill McConnell, secretary for the Pineville Downtown Merchants Association, said the program, which has existed for many years, works to “help revitalize small towns’ downtown.” 

Julia Zweifel, Pineville’s newest town planner, said the town is not officially participating in the program, but is brainstorming ideas to support the downtown.  She said before she became town planner, which was right after Memorial Day, Pineville had previously looked into the program and has recently decided to take the initiative and “go for it.” 

“The Main Street Program is a great program and has proven successful for towns like ours,” she said. “I’m really excited to see what happens.”

The application process doesn’t start until May 2015, and, besides filling out an application, involves somebody attending the Main Street Conference and a few workshops, Zweifel said.  

The program, which has a historical preservation focus that builds off the town’s assets that are already in place, would provide the downtown with two years of intensive support and guidance. A consultant comes and works with the town in various ways such as performing market analysis and marketing and branding. 

“There’s a whole laundry list of services (the program) provides,” Zweifel said. After two years, the intensive guidance stops and the services are offered on an as-needed basis. “Once you’re in (the program), you’re in it,” Zweifel said of not having to fill out additional applications every year. 

Zweifel said the process is typically very competitive, with only a few towns being accepted into the program every year. But she believes downtown Pineville has a good shot at being picked.

“I think we have great participation with the business owners,” she said. Because of associations like the Pineville Downtown Merchants Association, the business owners are organized, Zweifel said. “(The businesses) are enthusiastic and we have a core group in the historic downtown. I think that is a huge plus for the town.” 

McConnell said one of the cornerstones of the North Carolina Small Town Main Street Program is for downtown to hold events, something Pineville has been expanding on with the fall festival, Hometown Christmas and the recently added Howl-O-Ween. 

Find more information at www.nccommerce.com/rd/main-street/small-town-main-street-program.

Pineville leaders are currently looking at many different options, including the North Carolina Small Town Main Street Program, as means of pumping new energy into the downtown area.

Bill McConnell, secretary for the Pineville Downtown Merchants Association, said the program, which has existed for many years, works to “help revitalize small towns’ downtown.” 

Julia Zweifel, Pineville’s newest town planner, said the town is not officially participating in the program, but is brainstorming ideas to support the downtown.  She said before she became town planner, which was right after Memorial Day, Pineville had previously looked into the program and has recently decided to take the initiative and “go for it.” 

“The Main Street Program is a great program and has proven successful for towns like ours,” she said. “I’m really excited to see what happens.”

The application process doesn’t start until May 2015, and, besides filling out an application, involves somebody attending the Main Street Conference and a few workshops, Zweifel said.  

The program, which has a historical preservation focus that builds off the town’s assets that are already in place, would provide the downtown with two years of intensive support and guidance. A consultant comes and works with the town in various ways such as performing market analysis and marketing and branding. 

“There’s a whole laundry list of services (the program) provides,” Zweifel said. After two years, the intensive guidance stops and the services are offered on an as-needed basis. “Once you’re in (the program), you’re in it,” Zweifel said of not having to fill out additional applications every year. 

Zweifel said the process is typically very competitive, with only a few towns being accepted into the program every year. But she believes downtown Pineville has a good shot at being picked.

“I think we have great participation with the business owners,” she said. Because of associations like the Pineville Downtown Merchants Association, the business owners are organized, Zweifel said. “(The businesses) are enthusiastic and we have a core group in the historic downtown. I think that is a huge plus for the town.” 

McConnell said one of the cornerstones of the North Carolina Small Town Main Street Program is for downtown to hold events, something Pineville has been expanding on with the fall festival, Hometown Christmas and the recently added Howl-O-Ween. 

Find more information at www.nccommerce.com/rd/main-street/small-town-main-street-program.

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Laura Edington

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