By David Meade
Williamston’s new economic development and revitalization program, Main Street Williamston, took a big step toward becoming a working organization last week when members of the program’s four committees met for the first time for a two hour training session held at Town Hall
Approximately 30 committee members attended the training sessions with State Main St. representatives Randy Wilson, President of CommunityDesign Solution, Inc and a consulting architect, Jonathan Irick, Executive Director for Main Street Laurens and Beppie LeGrand, Executive Director of the State Municipal Association Main Street program.
“Our state directors and instructors were impressed with our attendance. I was very pleased as well,” said Main Street Williamston Executive Director Caroline Alex.
“The purpose of these trainings was to better orient all of our committee members with the Main Street Program and the Four Point Approach of the program. They were given some background and history of the program while also learning about their roles and responsibility as a committee member and as a committee group.”
According to Alex, the training sessions also provided examples of how to be a successful committee for the local program and to develop a rough outline for a 12 to 18 month work plan for each committee.
“I felt that the training sessions went very well,” Alex said. “During those two hours much was discussed and accomplished. Our state directors, instructors, and myself all felt that the sessions were productive and effective.”
The training sessions are an integral part to getting the Main Street Williamston program underway, Alex said. “Our four committees, together, are the backbone to our program as they serve as the task force that gets things done by accomplishing tasks ranging from planning to execution to evaluation.”
The four committees that make up the program are Organization, Economic Restructuring, Promotion and Design.
Alex said that information and discussions by committee members during the training sessions will provide Main Street Williamston with “a detailed plan of how to begin our work.”
According to Alex, each of the committees will come up with a work plan which will include identifying and prioritizing several projects. Once the work plans are completed, they will go before the Main Street Williamston Advisory Board for evaluation and approval.
Board members include Rockey Burgess, Debbie Chapman, Anna Clanton, Mayor Mack Durham, Boyd Greene, David Meade, Joan Ragsdale, Jim Simpson, Police Chief Tony Taylor, Chris Trotter, Angel Perez, Lee Cole and Pastor Darrin Johnson
The next big step and a key element for the program is a Branding Charette which will be held in late April.
“The branding charrette is also a huge piece of the puzzle and is a catalyst to getting Main Street Williamston underway,” Alex said. “The charrette is a time when our community has the opportunity to come together and have a voice in our town’s future and personality; it is also the opportunity for community members and various community groups and organizations to “have skin in the game” as this Main Street program kicks off and gets going strong.”
“It gives us the identity we have all been looking for, thus fostering a strong sense of pride and place,” Alex said. “We are very excited to conduct our branding charrette and see what transpires from it.”
Alex thanked board members and everyone who has supported Main Street Williamston so far.
“The support we have received thus far has been very encouraging and is much appreciated. I do urge all of our community members get out and learn more about Main Street Williamston and to join us in supporting our program as we grow and evolve.”
Alex said she would enjoy the opportunity to share the Main Street vision, plans, and purpose for the program in Williamston with anyone who is interested.