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State honors city's Main Street rehab project

The North Carolina Main Street Center honored Hendersonville for the best Main Street improvement project. The North Carolina Main Street Center honored Hendersonville for the best Main Street improvement project.

Hendersonville's Main Street makeover was recognized as the Best Outdoor Space Improvement during the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Ceremony at the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium in Morganton on Thursday.

North Carolina Main Street Center Director Liz Parham and state Secretary of Commerce John E. Skvarla presented the city of Hendersonville and local landscape architecture firm Luther Smith & Associates with the award.

The N.C. Main Street program's annual awards competition recognizes the outstanding achievements of particpating North Carolina Main Street communities in categories reflecting the four areas of focus for Main Street: organization, design, economic restructuring and promotion. A diverse panel of Main Street professionals reviewed the nominations and selected the winners.

Hendersonville was recognized for a Main Street renovation that the committee said represented an unparalleled and visionary reinvestment in downtown. The work, which was completed in three phases from Allen Street to Seventh Avenue, is credited with reviving the southern-most section of Main Street and replacing underground utilities so city crews were not constantly jackhammering concrete and asphalt to repair old pipes and electrical wiring.

Hendersonville's Main Street changed to a serpentine design in 1978 when community leaders moved Main Street from a four-lane state highway to the zig-zagging two-lane city street. The rehab work's combined focus on significant investments in and upgrades to infrastructure (like water, sewer and electrical) in concert with the refinement of the most successful pedestrian friendly elements of the original serpentine streetscape was a model of successful project implementation, an N.C. Main Street Center review panel said.

"We are thrilled that the N.C. Main Street Center has chosen to recognize City Council, who shepherded the implementation of this visionary project in concert with our diverse project team, with this recognition for the Downtown Streetscape Rehabilitation Project," Downtown Economic Development Director Lew Holloway said. "The project is the result of a true collaborative effort including nearly every city department with the city's Engineering, Public Works and Water & Sewer Departments working directly alongside Luther Smith & Associates, Trace & Company Construction, downtown stakeholders and the community as a whole to realize the rehabilitation. We have received consistent and overwhelmingly positive feedback about the project and are excited to make a wider audience aware of the unique and award winning nature of this project."