By bill willcox
Courier-Times staff writer
Last week, a number of representatives from the City of Roxboro, Person County Government, Roxboro Development Group (RDG) board, Person County Tourism Development Authority and several uptown businesses traveled to Goldsboro to attend the annual N.C. Main Street Conference.
Roxboro won two awards during the event.
The Kirby Rebirth Project won “Best Facade Rehabilitation Project for Over $15,000” and Bruce Wrenn, an RDG board member, was selected as Roxboro’s “Main Street Champion.”View the “Best Facade Rehabilitation Project” video by clicking here! View the Bruce Wrenn named “Main Street Champion 2015” video by clicking here!
North Carolina Commerce Secretary John Skvarla, in presenting the awards, said, “This year’s winners represent some of North Carolina’s best ambassadors promoting business friendly downtowns, historic preservation, and artistic streetscapes.”
Fourteen Main Street Award winners were recognized for excellence in downtown revitalization efforts in categories that included design, economic vitality, organization and promotion.
A panel of independent judges selected this year’s winners from dozens of applications submitted by Main Street participants throughout the state.
The North Carolina Main Street program helps small towns preserve their historic fabric and, using local resources, build on their unique characteristics to create vibrant central business districts, according to a release.
Beth Townsend, a spokesperson for Piedmont Community College who played an essential role in preparing the Kirby award application, said the restored marquee transformed Uptown Roxboro.
“We are especially proud of the facade restoration and the new marquee,” Townsend said. “When lit in the evening, the marquee brings Main Street to life.
“In addition to enhancing Uptown Roxboro and growing essential partnerships, the full Kirby Rebirth project created a new space for community members to gather,” Townsend added.
“Since completion, over 6,500 guests have attended a function on the second floor. The events vary from class reunions to baby showers, birthday parties to weddings, and of course, meetings for local businesses and industries.
“The Upper Gallery, named for Roxboro Savings Bank, has also attracted new artists and visitors,” Townsend continued. “In 2015 the two Kirby Galleries welcomed 66 new artists and nearly 900 more visitors than the previous year.”
The Kirby Rebirth and Uptown Renewal project created a partnership between the City of Roxboro, Person County Government, the Person County Arts Council, Piedmont Community College, the Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce, the local Main Street program, and the Carver Agency, Inc., just to name a few, according to the nomination for the award.
”Additional relationships were developed as over $355,000 was raised from community members, businesses, civic organizations, and local foundations, making this a true community project…” The award nomination read. “The renovation has also encouraged other local business owners to improve their façades and completely renovate two buildings, allowing three businesses to move to Uptown Roxboro. The block on which the KCAC is located is completely renewed, giving Main Street a beautiful look for visitors.”
Lauren Wrenn (no relation to Bruce Wrenn), said the RDG unanimously selected him as this year’s champion.
“Bruce was the obvious choice for our Main Street Champion this year,” Lauren Wrenn said. “He has really gone above and beyond on so many occasions to help us make Roxboro an even better place to call home. We are truly grateful for his dedication to this community.”