Downtown Monroe earns accreditation

May. 30, 2013 @ 05:35 PM

Monroe was one of 27 communities in the state to receive accreditation from the National Main Street Program for meeting the commercial district revitalization performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. 

In order to qualify for accreditation, the downtown had to meet 10 criteria set forth by the National Main Street Center. 

They include broad-based community support for revitalization efforts, a historic preservation ethic, an adequate operating budget, a comprehensive Main Street work plan, a paid professional program manager, ongoing training for staff and volunteers, an active board of directors and committees, reports key statistics and is a current member of the National Trust Main Street Network. 

In addition, the main street must have developed a mission statement and a vision relevant to community conditions and the program’s organizational stage. 

Monroe has been accredited in previous years. Assistant City Manager and Director of Downtown Monroe Brian Borne said it has been accredited at least four years.

“It’s great. It means that we meet criteria set forth by the state and the national program,” Borne said. “We’re very glad to be recognized in that way. It’s a nice honor to have. Not all main streets are accredited.”

Monroe was accreddited along with Lenoir, Lexington, Albemarle, Brevard, Clayton, Concord, Elizabeth City, Elkin, Garner, Salisbury, Hendersonville, Hickory, Kings Mountain, New Bern, Lincolnton and others. 

Sheila Crunkleton, chair of the Downtown Advisory Board, was pleased by the accreditation. 

“I think we have a wonderful downtown area, the merchants, the business owners, it takes the city and the merchants all working together to make a successful downtown,” Crunkleton said. “I am thrilled that we finally received this acknowledgment.”

Crunkleton, who has chaired the board for about three years, said she has noticed a change in the merchants and the businesses.

“The business owners coming down, I think they’re being better prepared for business,” Crunkleton said. “We’ve got great businesses.”

She said they seem to come knowing they need to work with the city to promote events and work with the events to promote their businesses.

In addition, a lot of businesses are utilizing facade grants and other resources available, Crunkleton said.

For Crunkleton, the accreditation validates the work they have done in the downtown area.

“I think it’s as much the status and the acknowledgment of hard work and that it all comes together for the benefit of the community,” she said.

The National Main Street Center works to provide standards, visibility and goals for main streets.

“We congratulate this year’s nationally accredited Main Street programs for meeting our established performance standards,” Valecia Crisafulli, acting director of the National Main Street Center, said. “Accredited Main Street programs are meeting the challenges of the downtown in the economy head on, and are successfully using a focused, comprehensive revitalization strategy to keep their communities vibrant and sustainable.”