Editor’s Note: The News Journal is presenting daily stories this week on local entities that play vital roles in economic development. Below is an introduction on National Economic Development Week (May 6-11), followed by today’s article, from Main Street Wilmington.
May 6-11 is National Economic Development Week. Created by the International Economic Development Council, the week celebrates the contributions of positive economic development and explains the role of the profession in our local community.
Here in Wilmington and Clinton County, a number of organizations play a role in economic development: the Clinton County Commissioners, the City of Wilmington, the Clinton County Port Authority, the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce, the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, Main Street Wilmington, and the Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Dan Evers, Executive Director of the Clinton County Port Authority, notes, “Economic development is everyone’s job. I’m proud to be a part of this group, which has become increasingly intentional about that work. When you look at this list of organizations, it speaks volumes about the priority we as a community put on economic development.”
Main Street Wilmington
Why does downtown matter?
The state of downtown Wilmington has a direct result on advancing economic well-being for the city overall. With a vibrant downtown, property values increase, investors and developers study local opportunities, and visitors make the downtown a destination.
Main Street Wilmington’s mission is to promote historic preservation and economic development of the downtown while making it a vital hub for housing, shopping, dining, and entertainment. Each year strides are made toward that goal, thanks to the cooperation and shared vision of city and county groups.
Downtown proved to be a good incubator for new businesses in 2018 with the addition of four new businesses: Papsy’s Place, Laney Cakes Bakery, Coldwell Banker-West Shell Realtors, and Style Me Pretty Boutique.
TinCap Cider relocated to Sugartree Street from Truesdell Avenue, while other established businesses like South Street Wine Cellar and The Cutting Room chose to stay downtown and expand their operating space to accommodate ever-growing clientele. These local entrepreneurs have infused their enthusiasm, dollars, and effort into creating additional retail, entertainment, service, and dining options to create a more vital downtown.
When downtown grows as a commercial district with independent businesses, profits stay in town and local families are supported by family-owned businesses, which in turn support local community projects.
Special events and celebrations held downtown help reinforce an intangible sense of community all year long. Along with the Murphy Theatre and Convention and Visitors Bureau, Main Street Wilmington plans entertainment programming to appeal to a broad cross-section of people, both local and regional.
Third Friday Parties, the Wine Walk, the Art & Soul Festival, the Craft Beer Rally & Chili Cook-Off, and Hometown HoliDazzle are just a few of the events that draw residents and visitors from other counties.
As part of the local Economic Development Roundtable, Main Street Wilmington is a partner in strategizing about the bigger economic development picture beyond the confines of downtown Wilmington.
Committed to serving as an information resource for the public, Main Street Wilmington has added a new section to our website to provide start-up information for new/prospective businesses and individuals looking for a downtown location.
Part of the draw of downtown is the bounty of treasured historic buildings that lend character and identity to our town. With a focus on historic preservation, Main Street Wilmington coordinated the installation of five historic markers to recognize each building’s historical significance in the community. More markers are planned for this year.
As a contributor to economic development efforts, Main Street Wilmington strives to create a civic forum downtown, where members of the community can congregate and build bonds that translate into overall quality of life and engagement.