Tourism Talk: Downtown Revitalization | Sept. 20, 2018

Tourism Talk Sept2018

The Virginia Main Street Program focus of public presentation by Department of Housing and Community Development on September 20th in Rocky Mount

The ways and means for business development and entrepreneurship vary greatly from one community to the next.  These differences are important in that they help to differentiate communities and give value to sense of place and identity.

The Franklin County Office of Economic Development – Tourism in collaboration with the Longwood University SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and The Franklin Center for Advanced Learning and Enterprise will host an informational session about programs offered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), specifically the Virginia Main Street program. Presenter will be Rebecca Rowe, program manager in DHCD’s Community Revitalization Office and State Coordinating Program Manager for Virginia Main Street. For more information, visit:

The program will include a brief presentation by Lin Hite of the Longwood University SBDC who will provide an overview of services his office offers – free of charge – to businesses, entrepreneurs, or those considering going into business.  The Longwood University SBDC hosts consultations at the Franklin Center on the third Thursday of each month, and alternates training seminars every other month.  These are alternated with the Franklin County Office of Economic Development – Tourism who features programs on tourism and economic development of value to Franklin County. This includes the program on September 20th.

 Downtown Revitalization: A 21st Century Main Street Approach

The Virginia Main Street Program is a preservation-based economic and community development program that follows the Main Street Approach by the National Main Street Center. Virginia Main Street offers a range of services and assistance to communities interested in revitalizing their historic commercial districts. While the program was designed to address the need for revitalization and on-going management of smaller to mid-sized downtowns, aspects of the Main Street Approach may be applied successfully in other commercial settings. For info:

Commercial District Affiliates

Not every community is ready to undertake a comprehensive Main Street effort. But for those with the desire and energy to improve historic downtown commercial districts, Virginia Main Street (VMS) has resources to assist them through the affiliate program. There are currently over 80 affiliates of the VMS program, including the two Franklin County towns of Boones Mill and Rocky Mount.

“Tourism is economic development, jobs and revenue, and as such is closely aligned with business development and entrepreneurship,” noted David Rotenizer, Director of Tourism for Franklin County. He was directly involved with the Virginia Main Street program and revitalization efforts in the communities of Hillsville and Martinsville, and as a extension agent in community development with the Extension Service of West Virginia State University. “I have been exposed to the vast network of the Main Street program and the time tested experience it can bring to communities toward business and investment concerns. It works.”

The free program will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 20 at The Franklin Center for Advanced Learning and Enterprise, 50 Claiborne Avenue, Rocky Mount, Va 24151.  For questions, please call (540) 483-3030 or email


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