The Town of Clayton and the Clayton Downtown Development Association will host the 2018 N.C. Main Street Conference.
Set to span three days next March, the conference will bring hundreds to Clayton from all over North Carolina – including main street managers, downtown revitalization board members, town planners and elected officials. Joining them will be professionals from fields that affect downtown development, such as design, architecture, historic preservation, landscape architecture and event planning.
In all, the town expects 500 or more people to come to Clayton next March.
Clayton hosted the conference in 2012, and Mayor Jody McLeod said he is eager to showcase how much downtown has flourished in the past five years.
“We’re honored that the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Main Street Center have once again chosen to ‘Think Clayton’ and select us as the home for next year’s conference,” McLeod said. “Our public art initiatives were just getting started five years ago, and now we’re seeing the impact and value those projects can bring to a downtown. This is a great opportunity for Clayton, and we can’t wait to welcome these guests from all across the state.”
Getting chosen to host the N.C. Main Street Conference is no small feat; in fact, the selection process is quite rigorous, said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Department of Commerce’s N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center.
“We conduct a comprehensive assessment of a community before we select a host city,” Parham said. “The community must be able to demonstrate and showcase success in their downtown revitalization efforts. They must have quality downtown facilities that can comfortably handle up to 450 participants, committed volunteers, town council and staff support, and good amenities. We feel that Clayton has the right combination of these components for a great conference in 2018.”
Most of the conference activities will be held at The Clayton Center. Attendees will also have plenty of opportunity to tour, shop and dine in downtown Clayton.
The N.C. Main Street Center assists selected communities across the state in restoring economic vitality to their historic downtowns. Main Street staff members provide technical assistance, guidance and training for participating communities. While grant funds for specific projects occasionally become available, Main Street is a self-help program, and it is up to local communities to provide the human and financial resources necessary to operate their downtown programs.
New Main Street communities are selected every three years through a competitive application process. Clayton has been a Main Street Community in 2006.