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EvansJewelers-MainStreetChampionsOn Tuesday, April 1, Barry Long was honored as a 2013 Main Street Champion at the North Carolina Main Street Annual Awards Ceremony in New Bern. Long was selected by Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation for this special recognition in appreciation of his exceptional contributions to the downtown revitalization process. Along with Champions from 32 other communities, he received a certificate commemorating this designation, presented by N.C. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Dr. Pat Mitchell and Office of Urban Development Director Liz Parham. 

 
Established in 2000 as part of North Carolina Main Street’s 20th anniversary celebration, the Main Street Champion designation acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of those persons who have played pivotal roles in the revitalization of their downtowns. The dedication and hard work of countless volunteers is required to make a local Main Street program successful. Each of the state’s active Main Street programs is given the opportunity annually to recognize a local Main Street Champion. The addition of this year’s honorees brings the total number of North Carolina Main Street Champions to 533.
 
Commenting on the importance of Main Street Champions, Parham said, “They are a glass half full kind of people – the type that recognizes the possibilities in their downtowns and strives to make those possibilities reality. They are the young couple who raise funds to keep their downtown’s lone theater screen from going dark. They are the mother-daughter team who, despite naysayers, believe an art crawl series would be successful in their downtown and go about creating one. They are the downtown board chairman who demonstrates his understanding of the value of investing in downtown by developing an award-winning mixed-use project that sets a standard for quality and serves as a catalyst for future development. Main Street Champions are the believers, the doers, the backbone of a successful revitalization effort that has brought new jobs, new businesses and a renewed spirit of vitality back to the heart of the community in small cities and towns throughout North Carolina.”
 
In recommending Long for this honor, Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation offered the following: 
 
As a Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation board member since 1997 and chairman since 2010, Barry Long is one of the organization's longest serving members, and he has given considerable time, effort and money to the betterment of downtown Smithfield. During his tenure, more than $20 million dollars of public and private funds have been invested in the downtown district, with projects including the burying of utility lines, development and implementation of the downtown streetscape project, and creation of the Neuse Riverwalk and Buffalo Creek Greenway. Making a personal investment in downtown Smithfield in 1996, Barry and his wife, Kay, purchased the corner building at 146 South Third Street and opened Cafe Monet, bringing white linens and fine dining to Downtown Smithfield. Although he is content to allow staff and others to bask in the public spotlight, there are few people who can match the support and commitment to DSDC demonstrated by Barry Long. 
 
Main Street is a downtown revitalization program for smaller towns based on economic development within the context of historic preservation. The North Carolina Main Street program, which provides technical assistance to its communities, is part of the Office of Urban Development in the Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division.
 
In 1980, North Carolina was one of six original states, selected from 38 that applied, to launch the work of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Center. The North Carolina Main Street program began with five participating cities – New Bern, Salisbury, Shelby, Tarboro and Washington – in September 1980 and has since grown to include 61 communities across the state.
 
 
 
 
 
As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center.
 
 
 
Smithfield is a North Carolina Main Street Community, designated by the NC Department of Commerce and Main Street & Rural Planning Center.  The Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation is charged with administering the program at the local level and building a public-private partnership to spur economic development in partnership with the state agency. 
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