Saturday, July 07, 2007

“Downtown Clayton: Vision 2012” Adopted by Town Council

"Downtown has truly become the social and cultural hub of Clayton." That's the summation of the vision statement for downtown Clayton adopted June 18 by the Clayton Town Council and created by 80 residents, business and property owners during a Main Street Vision Forum conducted in late April as part of the NC Main Street Program. During the workshop, the 80-plus participants were divided into groups, which developed lists of downtown Clayton’s strengths and weaknesses and from those lists developed individual and group vision statements. Following the Vision Forum, Clayton’s Downtown Development Association (DDA) members synthesized the twelve statements received from the April 24 Vision Forum and took the best themes and ideas to forge this vision statement.

Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod said, “It was an exciting process to bring these people from all over town together and develop positive visions for downtown.” He added, “The final vision statement really sounds great and is something we can really work with.”

According to DDA Chair, Joyce Blackley, the vision statement contains goals the DDA will pursue through their volunteer committees, and by creating partnerships with the appropriate entities. Mrs. Blackley said that the most popular ideas and thoughts generated during the Vision Forum are reflected in the statement. "Everybody who participated had great ideas and this vision provides realistic and achievable goals over the next five years." she said.

Downtown Clayton Vision: 2012

The new streetscape of Main Street thrives amid a profusion of flowers and plantings, decorative street-crossings, walkways, and interesting buildings. Downtown is well-lit and safe. Overall, Clayton has a clean, uncluttered look, especially since the utility lines were put underground.

Now a diverse business center, Clayton retains its small town charm as it steams toward its progressive future. Trendy restaurants offer sidewalk cafes and entertainment for all tastes. Every storefront is occupied and restored to its original architectural glory accented by attractive landscaping. A variety of shops are open evenings to accommodate the needs of residents and visitors alike. The open-air market provides fresh, local produce and crafts.

Clayton’s growing visual and performing arts community is alive with artists and music. Public art throughout downtown provides beauty and interest. The Clayton Center continues to flourish with live professional and community performances.

Attractive and informative signs welcome residents and visitors to downtown shops and parking. They guide the way to downtown from other Clayton communities.

The visitor's center provides us with maps of historic Clayton and a schedule of events, such as the Harvest Festival and Millstock, for the downtown area. The Clayton History Museum offers an interactive map and walking tour of the historical area and other points of interest.

Downtown has truly become the social and cultural hub of Clayton.

The Clayton Downtown Development Association is a Town Council-appointed board that is charged with the long-term effort to enhance and maintain downtown Clayton’s business and residential neighborhoods. DDA operates under a four-point umbrella, based on the Main Street Program’s “Four-Point” approach to revitalization. The four major elements contribute to a downtown’s total image and the DDA adopted these as standing committees.

Organization Committee – Betsy Grannis, Chair. This committee manages resource needs, develops financial strategies, evaluates public relations needs and drafts plan of work proposals. The type of projects this committee typically oversees includes development of project fundraising plans; developing a newsletter for downtown constituents; solicit sponsorships for specific projects.

Design Committee – Jeme Avent, Chair. This committee deals with what we see. It plays a key role in shaping the physical image of the downtown area as a place attractive to shoppers, investors, business owners and visitors. The committee builds consensus among independent business owners, property owners and civic leaders to adopt a specific approach for physical improvements to buildings, businesses and public areas. The primary activities of the Design Committee are education of committee members and property owners, offering resource assistance, planning and developing design tools for use by downtown interests.

Economic Restructuring Committee – Interim Chair This committee deals with the downtown infrastructure. It helps identify new market opportunities for the traditional commercial district, find new uses for historic commercial buildings and stimulates investment in property. Major activities are collecting information, diversifying the use of downtown, encouraging downtown investment and monitoring the downtown economy.

Promotion Committee – Lyn Austin, Chair. The mission of the Promotion Committee is to let people know about the downtown area and to promote the downtown district as the center of commerce, culture and community life for residents and visitors. Developing and maintaining an image campaign, educating retailers about and encouraging joint retail promotions and special events help carry out the committee's mission.

For more information on Downtown Clayton: Vision 2012 or the DDA, call Joyce Blackley at 553-6813 or email

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