Rutherfordton Announces a Purposeful Plan for Growth and Revitalization
Revitalization is happening in and around Western North Carolina and the Town of Rutherfordton is launching a plan for growth, entrepreneurship, and vitality.
In the early 1800s, the Town of Rutherfordton was a gateway for those traveling west and still today when people hear the name they remark, “I’ve been through Rutherfordton.” Within an hour drive is the financial metropolis of Charlotte, NC, the top tourist destination of Asheville, NC, and the reenergized hot spot of Greenville, SC. The town’s ideal location positions Rutherfordton to attract a wide variety of both residents and businesses where opportunities are abundant and the scenic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a delightful bonus.
Explore both the rich history of the town and the outdoors on your choice of eight trails that include a greenway, a kid’s safari, a historic victory trail, and a old moonshine driving trail, just to name a few. Rutherfordton’s new plan includes expansion of some of these existing trails, improvements to a popular downtown park, and a bike and pedestrian plan to make exploring the town even more enjoyable than it already is.
Did you know that the first $1 gold coin was minted in Rutherfordton almost 17 years before the U.S. Mint made one of their own?
The entrepreneurial spirit has been alive and well in Rutherfordton for centuries, and over the next two years the Town has plans to nurture and grow that spirit even more. The focus started last year with the creation of a “How to Start a Business in Rutherfordton” guide that makes it easy for business owners to connect to local resources when developing a business plan, seeking funding, and finding a location.
This year the town has taken that commitment one step further and created a full-time Community Development Coordinator position. Traditionally, this position was only part-time with a focus on promoting downtown events and implementing a downtown revitalization plan as part of Rutherfordton’s commitment as a Certified Main Street community. Town Council and Town Manager Doug Barrick wanted to expand that position and focus more on planning, organizing and directing economic development activities for the town.
To accomplish this mission, the Town has contracted with The McConnell Group – a nationally award-winning marketing and public relations company based in Rutherfordton – to organize and market the Town’s annual festivals and events. Currently, The McConnell Group manages the Town’s website and newsletter and has a proven track record of successful management and promotion of events.
“Although events are a big part of what draws residents and visitors to our area, we are not as well equipped to put on a event as a marketing company that does it full-time,” commented Barrick. “The McConnell Group already successfully coordinates two of the largest events in our county, the Lake Lure Olympiad and the Dirty Dancing Festival. By partnering with them to coordinate and promote Rutherfordton’s events it will allow us to continue to grow the visibility and reach of these events which in turn will bring even more people to our downtown area and ultimately enrich our community as a whole,” he added. Barrick went on to explain that knowing the festivals and events will continue to flourish under the new event contract, will allow the Community Development Director to dedicate additional time to supporting local businesses, creating and retaining jobs, growing the trail and park systems, and implementing the Main Street plan for revitalization and development.
The new position will work in partnership with a network of agencies on the local, regional and even state level including Rutherford Town Revitalization (RTR), the Town’s N.C. Main Street non-profit organization.
The Community Development Director will serve as the initial point of contact for businesses looking to locate to Rutherfordton, as well as assist existing businesses planning to expand or seeking assistance in helping their business achieve its full potential. The job description released by the Town lists essential functions and responsibilities as including, but not limited to:
- Serving as a community ombudsman to assist businesses navigating local processes.
- Administering the Town’s Main Street Program.
- Servings as a resource for the development community, property owners, businesses, and community organizations.
- Grant writing.
“Having a full-time position dedicated to the growth and economic vitality of the Town will be an invaluable resource to both residents and businesses,” Barrick explained. “It is something we have been seeking to establish for several years and we are happy to finally see it come together,” he added.
The Town of Rutherfordton is investing its time and resources into growing its community and supporting businesses, both new and established. Learn more about opportunities in Rutherfordton and the benefits of small town living by visiting MyRutherfordton.com and Rutherfordton.net or follow the Town on social media @MyRutherfordton. Get ready to fall in love with this “minted original” town where everyone in the community works together to create a place where few can resist leaving once they have experienced it. We’ll see you soon!
About the Town of Rutherfordton
Established in 1787 and home to the man who minted America’s first one-dollar gold coin, the Town of Rutherfordton is one of the oldest towns in Western North Carolina. With the tagline “A Minted Original,” visitors to Rutherfordton can mint their own unique experience in Rutherfordton by visiting charming shops that have spanned generations while collecting vintage treasures and admiring one of the only remaining cluster of antebellum homes in any North Carolina downtown. Enjoy a historic walking tour of Main Street infused with modern day stops like KidSenses Children’s InterACTIVE Museum, shops and boutiques, local art gallery and diverse restaurants. Learn more at www.myrutherfordton.com.