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Published Tue, Feb 12, 2013 01:00 PM
Modified Tue, Feb 12, 2013 11:07 AM

Downtown Clayton gets state recognition

- newsobserver.com
Clayton awarded the 2012 NC Main Street Champion to the Woman's Club of Clayton. (From left to right) Betsy Grannis, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dale Carroll, Laurie Partlo, Dianne Carroll, Margaret Lee, Donna Steele.
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- ajames@newsobserver.com

CLAYTON -- Downtown Clayton continues to draw praise from downtown advocates across the state.

The annual NC Main Street Conference was held January 30-February 1 in Salisbury.

That event was held last year, here in Clayton.

This year, Clayton was recognized with the “Best Infill Building Project” for the Clayton Law Enforcement Center. The Mosaic Community Garden received special recognition for the “Best Oudoor Space Improvement.” Though it did not win the “Award of Merit,” similar to first place, the community garden was recognized second, behind a major street improvement project in Statesville. Each town gets to recognize its own NC Main Street Champion at the conference and Clayton recognized the Woman’s Club of Clayton membership.

Downtown Clayton was also recognized for its interactions on social media, specifically its large number of followers on Facebook, which now totals 3,473.

What makes an “outstanding” downtown

Downtown Development Director Bruce Naegelen said he learned a lot at the conference about how Clayton compares to other downtowns, and he was encouraged by what he discovered.

“Compared to other downtowns, we’re doing really well,” said Naegelen.”

The conference included recognition of towns, and also speakers who discussed how to improve downtowns. One of the speakers, Roger Brooks, addressed the “10-10-10” rule to make a downtown “outstanding.”The rule says that within three lineal blocks, there should be 10 places that sell food, 10 destination retail shops, and 10 places that stay open after 6 p.m.

Even though Clayton doesn’t match up in all of those categories, Naegelen said, the town is farther along that it was five years ago at reaching those standards.

“From five years ago, we’ve got places on that list now,” said Naegelen.

Naegelen presented a report to the town council meeting last week about what he learned at the Main Street Conference. Councilman Art Holder also attended the conference. He encouraged Naegelen to look at what attributes Clayton’s downtown has and which ones it doesn’t have, starting at looking at which businesses stay open past 6 p.m.

Another outline for setting up a downtown that was discussed at the conference is the 7-8-7 rule, which says that 70 percent of sales come from curb appeal, 80 percent of all consumer spending is by women, and 70 percent of all retail spending takes place after 6 p.m.

Involving more artists in the community is one more way to bring life to downtown. Naegelen mentioned having the mayor give an award for public art each year to engage more artists in the community.

Other improvements that Naegelen said he will consider for downtown include adding more “gathering places,” or places where people want to hang out.

Mayor Jody McLeod also attended the Main Street Conference along with several members of the Clayton Woman’s Club.

James: 919-553-7234

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  • (From left to right) Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dale Carroll presents the Award of Merit to Mayor Jody McLeod and Councilman Art Holder for the Best Infill Building Project- The Clayton Law Enforcement Center.
    courtesy of Gary E. Hodges - newsobserver.com

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