Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. is a North Carolina Main Street organization committed to historic preservation-based community revitalization.
Mission: Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to foster and stimulate economic growth and development within the City of Mount Airy Municipal Service District through educational and promotional activities.
Vision: Historic Downtown Mount Airy resides at the trailhead of the Blue Ridge Mountains where our urban living is enhanced by the serene beauty of the rolling foothills. Downtown is the heartbeat of the community and grows the pulse of local art, live music, abundant shopping, local wine, craft brews, authentic dining experiences, and gracious hospitality. Fostering a diverse variety of small businesses, services, and friendly people, Mount Airy is a true Southern Town with all the charm of Mayberry.
Main Street Coordinator
Mount Airy Downtown, Inc.
The North Carolina Main Street Program operates out of the state's Department of Commerce. The program provides self-help direction, technical assistance, training, networking amongst other Main Street communities, and produces an annual state-wide conference welcoming all Main Street and Small Town Main Street cities. Designation as a Main Street City is an honor, and Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. is an award-winning and nationally accredited program.
As a Main Street America Affiliate™, Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. 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.
Over the past 30 years, the Main Street movement has transformed the way communities think about the revitalization and management of their downtown districts. Cities and towns across the nation have come to see that a prosperous, sustainable community is only as healthy as its core. The National Trust Main Street Center's mission is to empower people, organizations, and communities to achieve ongoing downtown and neighborhood district revitalization based upon the principles of self-determination, resource conservation, and incremental transformation represented through the comprehensive Main Street Four-Point Approach®.
Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. operates within the Main Street Program's Four-Point Approach: Economic Vitality, Design, Promotion, Organization.
Revitalizing a downtown or neighborhood commercial district requires focusing on the underlying Economic Vitality of the district. This work is rooted in a commitment to making the most of a community’s unique sense of place and existing historic assets, harnessing local economic opportunity and creating a supportive business environment for small business owners and the growing scores of entrepreneurs, innovators, and localists alike. With the nation-wide growing interest in living downtown, supporting downtown housing is also a key element of building Economic Vitality.
A focus on Design supports a community’s transformation by enhancing the physical elements of downtown while capitalizing on the unique assets that set the commercial district apart. Main Streets enhance their appeal to residents and visitors alike with attention to public space through the creation of pedestrian friendly streets, inclusion of public art in unexpected areas, visual merchandising, adaptive reuse of older and historic buildings, more efficiently-designed buildings, transit oriented development, and much more.
Promoting Main Street takes many forms, but the ultimate goal is to position the downtown or commercial district as the center of the community and the hub of economic activity, while creating a positive image that showcases a community’s unique characteristics. This can be done through highlighting cultural traditions, celebrating and preserving important architecture and history, encouraging local businesses to market cooperatively, offering coordinated specials and sales, and hosting special events aimed at changing perceptions of the district and communicating to residents, investors, businesses, and property-owners that this place is special.
A strong organizational foundation is key for a sustainable Main Street revitalization effort. This can take many forms, from a standalone non-profit organization, to a special assessment district, to a program housed in a municipality or existing community development entity. Regardless of the organizational type, the focus is on ensuring that all organizational resources (partners, funding, volunteers, etc.) are mobilized to effectively implement the Community Transformative Strategies.
Lizzie Morrison has been the Main Street Coordinator for Mount Airy Downtown, Inc. since July 2013 when Mount Airy joined the North Carolina Main Street Program. During her tenure with MAD, Morrison has leaned into her visual arts background to implement public improvement projects with an emphasis on public art, such as Canteen Alley, Melva's Alley, The Whittling Wall, The MAD, Inc. Mural Grant Program, The Market Street Arts & Entertainment District, and painted and metal sculptures unique to downtown. Downtown has grown significantly in the past 8 1/2 years with more than 81 facades redone, 33 building rehabilitations, 21 public improvement projects, 39 businesses created plus 14 expansions, 88 new housing units created, and private investment of approximately $29.7 million. The downtown taxable value has grown by more than $20 million since joining the Main Street program. Morrison believes in harnessing the community’s creative energy to build incremental but substantial change in Mount Airy.
Board of Directors
We are governed by a Board of Directors, which meets on the second Thursday of each month at 12:00 p.m. in the lower level conference room of the City Municipal Building, 300 South Main Street. Downtown Mount Airy business, property owners, and members of the public are encouraged to attend. The MAD, Inc. Board of Directors consists of five (5) voting Directors representing property owners, merchants and business people within the boundaries of the Municipal Service District, and five (5) voting Directors representing residents, representatives of the financial, real estate, architectural, legal and non-profit service organizations within the boundaries of the Municipal Service District. The Past President is ex-officio, and two Directors are ex-officio, and are appointed by The City of Mount Airy.
Bryan Grote, President
Jerry Coram, Jr., Vice President
Greg Perkins, Treasurer
Jessica Icenhour Roberts, Secretary
Ted Ashby, Past President
Marie Wood, Ex-Officio, City Commissioner
Stan Farmer, Ex-Officio, City Advisor
Lizzie Morrison, Ex-Officio, Executive Director