Waxhaw’s historic downtown district was built in 1889 and the 360 acres within it have remained a cornerstone of character for the town.
According to Lisa Hoffman, Waxhaw’s events and promotions manager and former interim main street manager, Waxhaw’s downtown has set it apart from other neighboring communities and will provide a valuable opportunity for businesses and residents, with the insight of a full-time main street manager.
This month Waxhaw Town Manager Warren Wood announced James Curtis White has been hired as the town’s first main street manager. White’s role will be to work with the N.C. Main Street Center’s main street program. That program requires that main street communities work to build economic development while preserving the historic downtown community.
White said he is enthusiastic about his new position.
“Lisa (Hoffman) and the main street advisory committee has a great vision and I will work within that context to build on what is already there,” he said.
Waxhaw has been a part of N.C. Main Street Center’s small main street communities since 2009 and recently upgraded to the main street program. The upgraded designation was based on population growth and changes to state regulations.
The main street state program is governed by the N.C. Main Street Center and is funded by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The program derived from the National Main Street Center program that was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the 1980s to ensure the revitalization of historic main street communities across the country. Waxhaw is one of 61 main street communities in North Carolina.
The Main Street program is managed on a four-point approach: organization of civic and business groups; promoting downtown by making it the prime location for town events; designing infrastructure and environment in a way that enhances historic elements; and working with current businesses to remain successful while diversify the area with new businesses that provide entertainment and a cultural presence.
Hoffman has cultivated more than 40 residents and business owners who volunteer on one of the four main street committee advisory boards that respectively study and act on the four-point approach system.
Hoffman said $194 million dollars in retail sales leaves the Waxhaw community annually. Of that, $30 million goes to the food service industry and another $50 million to purchases outside of town. A survey asking town residents what they’d like to see in Waxhaw came up with the following list: a bakery, microbrewery, wine shop, specialty food stores, a sporting goods store and a florist.
Hoffman said this information will help White establish the right “in-fill development.”
White said it’s all about finding the right balance between the town’s character, the available space, current zoning laws and meeting the needs of the community.
White has spent the last couple years working as Northeast Services Area Leader with Neighborhood and Business Services for the City of Charlotte. He said he worked in a region with diverse needs and interests. He has worked in Central Avenue, Plaza Midwood, NoDA, Eastland area, the North Tryon corridor, and most notably with the Northeast corridor light rail extension partners.
“I want to help make Waxhaw a destination place,” he said. “I will work to achieve that within the context of the Downtown Vision Plan and the Main Street program by supporting things that make Waxhaw so unique.”
Crystal O’Gorman is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay updated on Waxhaw’s Main Street program by visiting www.waxhaw.com/index.aspx?nid=177.