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Evidence to Support CED programs: The Growing Talk About RCTs

October 19, 2021

Whether you work in community or economic development, there has always been pressure to measure your success. CED professionals are very familiar with having to explain what type of impact they hope to have with their initiatives.  It is even harder to document success. Evidence-based decision-maki … Continued

Local government support for small business recovery and reopening

August 24, 2020

It is never too soon to start thinking about recovery, even in the midst of the pandemic. As communities look toward recovery, leaders are wrestling with how to establish a legally permissible aid program to assist small businesses with reopening. Many local governments established small business lo … Continued

Seats on the Street: Changes to Outdoor Dining in the Time of COVID-19

June 18, 2020

With Governor Cooper’s announcement of Phase II reopening on May 22nd, restaurants are allowed to seat customers for the first time since March 17th. Many communities are breathing a sigh of relief; downtowns have suffered dramatically from the loss of business due to COVID-19, and the reopening of … Continued

Downtown Facade Improvement Programs

January 16, 2020

The national Main Street Program touts “coordinated, small-scale facade improvements” in rural downtown commercial districts as having the “power to not only preserve valuable historic resources in rural communities, but also to spur economic growth in the surrounding area.” What local government to … Continued

Kannapolis, NC: Strategic Vision, Financial Planning, Development

July 18, 2019

This blog post features a project undertaken by the UNC School of Government’s Development Finance Initiative. The Development Finance Initiative (DFI) was established in 2011 to assist North Carolina communities with achieving their community economic development goals. DFI partners with communitie … Continued

NC Commerce Kicks Off the Downtown Strong Initiative

March 21, 2019

The North Carolina Department of Commerce announced Tuesday that twenty-four communities  located in small and/or rural counties throughout the state (see Table, below) have been selected to participate in the new Downtown Strong Initiative of the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center. The in … Continued

Key Elements of Successful Downtowns

January 17, 2019

Having a vibrant downtown or town center can have numerous benefits for a community. Aside from creating a “sense of place” and a node of commercial and cultural activity, research shows that businesses prefer locating in downtowns or walkable “live-work-play” communities due to advantages in attrac … Continued

The State of the Debate: Two-Way Street Conversion

December 6, 2018

In recent years, cities across the country have chosen to convert their one-way street networks into traditional two-way streets. This blog post will explore the roots of this widespread planning trend, its potential impacts on city streetscapes, as well as some common counterarguments to this movem … Continued

University Contributions to Municipal Service Districts in NC

May 3, 2018

One tool that local governments utilize in order to promote revitalization and growth in communities across North Carolina involve the use of Municipal Service District (MSD) taxation revenue. MSDs are designated areas, usually within a municipality’s central business district or other area of inter … Continued

Maintenance of vacant or neglected commercial buildings: options for NC local governments

March 20, 2018

UPDATE 2021: Some statutory provisions referenced in the original post were relocated to new Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes, effective January 1, 2021. This post has been updated with the new statutory references. The downtown buildings in the Town of Old Well have “good bones.” … Continued