Talk of Our Towns

Cabarrus County and City of Kannapolis recognized with N.C. Excellence in Communications Awards

The City of Kannapolis and Cabarrus County Communications Departments were among 21 North Carolina governments to earn recognition in the 2020 North Carolina City & County Communicators’ (NC3C) Excellence in Communications Awards.

The City of Kannapolis won two second place awards in the categories for Branding/Logo for the West Avenue Streetscape, and Print Poster/Flyer or Card for the Downtown Revitalization Block Map. Cabarrus County won first place awards for their Digital Employee Newsletter, DirectConnect, and the County’s Fiscal Year 2019 Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR).

The awards were announced in a virtual ceremony earlier this month. A total of 192 entries were received.

Kannapolis was honored twice at the 2020 NC3C Excellence in Communication Awards. Photo credit: City of Kannapolis

“It is my honor to congratulate all the 2020 NC3C Excellence in Communications contest winners,” said Rebecca Carter, NC3C President. “Each year I’m blown away by the incredible talent of local government communicators in North Carolina. The creativity and expertise NC3C members show in communicating, informing and educating their residents showcases not only their ability and skill but also how much they care about their communities. I’m so proud to be part of this remarkable group.”

Categories included TV & Video, Communication Technology, Printed Publications, Most Creative Project for the Least Amount of Funds, Citizen Participation, and Marketing Tools.

The County’s monthly DirectConnect employee newsletter was born from an employee survey. Creators used top responses as the basis for the content. Early on, subjects included wellness information, professional development and recognition of successes. And while that information remains, the structure and look of the newsletter evolved over time. It became more visual and focused on shared employee stories. The newsletter became an invaluable tool for keeping employees connected following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cabarrus County developed its PAFR as a supplement to its award-winning Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The report appeals to readers outside of the financial industry by presenting complex financial information in an understandable format using local photographs, simple graphics and clear language. The publication also includes ways for the community to connect with Cabarrus County and participate in our financial process. As a bonus, the design allows staff to use the publication as a whole or in parts, broadening its use while saving on resources. To view the PAFR, visit

The City of Kannapolis received a second place award in the category of printed publications for the Downtown Revitalization Block Map. The City has used the block map, electronically and in print form, to illustrate the entirety of the downtown project. The one-page visual representation is reader friendly, appealing and showcases downtown and the projects coming to life with easy to read graphics, artist renderings and quick bullets of information. The piece identifies the downtown block-by-block and provides information on what redevelopment is planned for each block of buildings in the heart of downtown Kannapolis. The piece has been used to market the properties, in public meetings and tours of the downtown, to provide illustration of the project to investors and many other stakeholders.

The City was also awarded second place in the Branding and Logo category. The City received the recognition for the West Avenue Streetscape brand. The brand features navy and green colors in a distinctive format while complementing the city’s primary brand. The logo is featured as a piece of art in the center of the roundabout and on street signs along West Avenue. The brand creates a distinct sense of identity for the newly redeveloped area.

Judges for the NC3C Excellence in Communications Awards were communication professionals from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators and a variety of communications industries across the state.

The purpose of North Carolina City & County Communicators is to encourage professional development and networking among local governmental communications professionals. The organization was formed in March 2007 and is made up of government professional communicators from around the state. For more information about NC3C, visit the website, www.nc3c. com.

“The City of Asheville has taken a holistic approach to disrupting food waste in our community,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer. Photo credit: City of Asheville

City of Asheville Selected to Join Other Southeastern Cities to Reduce Food Waste

The City of Asheville’s Office of Sustainability will begin working alongside other innovative cities in the Southeast to develop and implement food waste initiatives. The City was selected as a participant in the Natural Resources Defense Council Food Matters Project. The Food Matters project partners with cities to achieve meaningful reductions in food waste through comprehensive policies and programs. The City of Asheville joins Atlanta, Memphis, and Orlando in tackling food waste and attempting to minimize what goes into landfills and incinerators.

“The City of Asheville has taken a holistic approach to disrupting food waste in our community,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer. “We will continue to advance our values of environmental and social justice in making our city more sustainable in this continued effort with the Food Matters Southeast Regional Initiative.”

Up to 40 percent of food in the United States is wasted, contributing to extensive environmental, economic, and societal impacts. The Natural Resources Defense Council will work with each city to estimate their baseline food waste generation and food rescue potential. It will provide technical assistance on developing food waste strategies that help bolster food availability, sustainability and climate goals. By reducing the amount of food that is thrown out, cities can stabilize waste management costs and make progress toward climate and sustainability goals.

A key component of the Food Matters initiative is peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing — providing a network in which cities can learn best practices that can be shared and evolved. The initiative will include opportunities for participating cities to support and learn from each other and share successful strategies for on-the-ground project implementation.

Town of Garner Wins Honors for Financial Report for 31st Consecutive Year

Garner has demonstrated a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” for over three decades. Photo credit: Town of Garner

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the Town of Garner for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2019. This is the 31st consecutive year that the Town has earned this honor.

The Town’s CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate the Town’s financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

The GFOA advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources and practical research for more than 21,000 members and the communities they serve.

City of Reidsville Main Street Program Receives 2020 National Accreditation

The City of Reidsville’s Main Street Program has been designated as a 2020 Accredited Main Street America™ program. Accredited status is Main Street America’s top tier of recognition and signifies a demonstrated commitment to comprehensive commercial district revitalization and proven track record of successfully applying the Main Street Approach™.

Reidsville joined the North Carolina Main Street program in 1984, and this is the first time the city’s program has achieved accredited status. “We are proud to recognize this year’s 860 Nationally Accredited Main Street America programs that have dedicated themselves to strengthening their communities,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These Accredited Main Street programs have proven to be powerful engines for revitalization by sparking impressive economic returns and preserving the character of their communities. During these challenging times, these Main Street programs will be key to bringing economic vitality back to commercial districts and improving quality of life during the recovery process.” In 2019 alone, $6.45 billion of public and private reinvestment was generated, 6,466 net new businesses were opened, 32,316 net new were jobs created, and 10,412 buildings were rehabilitated in Main Street America communities.

The performance of Reidsville’s Main Street Program is evaluated by The North Carolina Main Street NC Main Street & Rural Planning Center, which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet ten rigorous performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings. North Carolina joined the Main Street program in 1980, and Reidsville was the 13th designated NCMS community in September 1984.

Today more than 80 cities and towns are part of North Carolina Main Street. In FY 18-19 alone, these North Carolina communities reported more than $261 million in public and private investment in downtowns, 303 net new businesses, and more than 1,700 net new full- and part-time jobs.

In the last fiscal year, Reidsville’s downtown reported more than $120,000 in public and private improvements, six net new businesses, and a net gain of 13 full time jobs. Missy Matthews is Reidsville’s Main Street Manager, and The Reidsville Downtown Corporation (RDC) serves as the advisory group for the city’s Main Street participation. The RDC organizes and implements downtown events such as Second DownTown Fridays, the Christmas Tree Lighting, and the Fall Jubilee.

In 2018-19, this group of dedicated volunteers gave more than 1,100 hours of service, valued at more than $26,000.

“Reidsville has been a Main Street community for nearly 36 years, and this is the first time we have achieved national accreditation,” Matthews said. “Accreditation was one of my goals when I became Main Street Manager in 2017. I am so proud of the hard work that the RDC board and volunteers have put in over the last few years to achieve this milestone – and even more proud of the positive changes this group of volunteers continues to bring to our downtown.”

One priority of the RDC over the past few years has been the installation of public art through Project DREAM (Downtown Reidsville Empowering Art Movement). The first mural, “Greetings from Reidsville” was completed in fall 2018, and since then, murals at the public library, an alleyway on South Scales street, and the City Hall parking lot have been created. In addition, more than 35 fire hydrants have been painted throughout downtown, as well as several utility boxes.

In June 2020, 28 art panels by Mary ED Ryan were added to planter boxes in the 100 and 200 blocks of South Scales Street, and Ruby Blanco recently completed a mural on the back of 138 S. Scales, facing the public parking lot. Revitalization is also ongoing in downtown Reidsville. Lucky City Brewing (228 Gilmer St.) recently completed their underground plumbing and poured a concrete floor.

At 105 Gilmer Street, developer Michael Carpino is renovating the long vacant Nunnelly Photography Studio building into three apartments and a street-level retail space. Both projects are on pace to be complete by September 2020. “For 36 years, Reidsville has been a proud North Carolina Main Street City. We are even more proud this year that we have, for the first time, received national Main Street accreditation,” said Reidsville Mayor Jay Donecker, a member of the Downtown Corporation Board.

“Accreditation recognizes that Reidsville’s downtown is a contributing part of this national movement, which celebrates community character, preserves local history and generates impressive economic returns. Exciting projects are taking place in our downtown, with more development on the horizon. That development has continued, even in a time of economic downturn, confirms the vitality of our downtown and our community.”