Best Economic Development Incentive Program

The Town of Marion was a recipient of the Best Economic Development Incentive Program at the March 13th Awards Ceremony of the State Main Street Conference for its Growing Entrepreneurs Marion - G.E.M project.
“This year’s award-winning projects represent some of the state’s best downtown revitalization success stories.  The projects being recognized are notable building rehabilitation projects, extraordinary public art projects, creative promotional activities, and public-private partnerships formed to make significant downtown changes and improvements,” said Liz Parham, Director, N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center, part of the Rural Economic Development Division at N.C. Commerce.
Over the past two and a half years, GEM has had 82 people, representing 50 businesses, graduate from the program, resulting in many new businesses, including nine new businesses so far in the downtown area, and the creation of 45 jobs. 

With an investment of $23,900 in GEM grants, the program has resulted in private investment of more than $2.4 million, with $2 million plus in the downtown area.  More investment is planned as additional new businesses open in and around Main Street.

“We are pleased to recognize these important projects around the state,” said Kenny Flowers, assistant secretary for rural economic development. “They demonstrate the kind of vision that local governments and their economic development partners, private developers, business owners, and private citizens need to improve their downtown districts and grow the local economy.”
Growing Entrepreneurs Marion partners are:
City of Marion
Marion Business Association
McDowell Chamber of Commerce
McDowell Tech Small Business Center


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