Gov. Roy Cooper recently announced the Town of Carthage has received a $350,000 Rural Transformation Grant to support the completion of the town’s Downtown Corridor Plan. The funds will be used to develop a final conceptual design plan for improvements related to aesthetics, safety, landscaping, grade improvements, the integration of accessible sidewalks, and the construction of new sidewalks in and around Courthouse Square.
The Rural Transformation Grant Fund is part of the broader Rural Engagement and Investment Program from the N.C. Department of Commerce and is designed to provide funding and technical assistance to rural local governments for revitalizing downtown districts, building resilient neighborhoods, supporting small businesses, and advancing further community growth and economic development initiatives. The Town of Carthage is one of 42 local governments in rural areas across North Carolina to be awarded a grant in the second round of the Rural Transformation Grant Fund awards. The Town of Vass also received an award in this round.
“I am thrilled about the improvements that the Rural Transformation Grant funding will bring and for the opportunities it will foster in the future,” said Emily Yopp, Carthage town manager. “The Town of Carthage is growing, and the downtown core — the heart of our community — has really shown the most revitalization over the last two years.”
In addition to leveraging Rural Transformation Grant funding, Carthage is also benefiting from a $25,000 Duke Energy Foundation Hometown Revitalization Grant recently awarded to the Carthage Century Committee, a nonprofit created to foster economic activity in the Carthage community. These funds were passed through to 11 small businesses in the downtown district to help cover costs to improve their storefronts and interior spaces.
“Renewed interest in rehabilitating historic commercial buildings has attracted new businesses, and in turn these new businesses are working hard to make downtown Carthage a place to shop, dine and visit,” Yopp said.
Yopp also noted that construction on the new Moore County courthouse is well underway, and Southern Pines Brewing Company is preparing to start construction on the historic Tyson & Jones Buggy Building.
“These two projects alone will change the face of downtown Carthage but coupled with the renewed growth of local businesses in the heart of Carthage, we find ourselves in the midst of a transformative revitalization effort that was brought on by the hard work and efforts of many of Carthage’s community stakeholders,” she said.
“Carthage is experiencing phenomenal momentum in advancing its downtown revitalization plans,” said Natalie Hawkins, executive director of Moore County Partners in Progress. “Partners in Progress is pleased to support Carthage’s initiatives to move the Town in a purposeful direction through this period of extraordinary growth and development.”
Partners in Progress most recently assisted Carthage with Southern Pines Brewing Company’s expansion and chaired the Carthage Century Committee’s selection committee that identified recipients of the Duke Energy Foundation grant.
“I am very excited that Carthage is receiving this grant funding, and we are grateful to the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Rural Economic Development Division for this opportunity,” said Carthage Mayor Jimmy Chalflinch. “It will help to bring life back into the downtown business district and support our new and existing businesses.”
“Carthage is one of the oldest communities and has always served as the center of Moore County. I am looking forward to working alongside our citizens, business owners and other community partners to plan for and start taking important steps for the future of downtown Carthage,” he added.