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The Roanoke Rapids Public Works Department was honored Thursday as a Main Street Champion.

While the department was recognized at a ceremony in Salisbury it will also be honored locally at the first city council meeting in April, said Main Street Development Director Christina Caudle.

The Main Street non-profit submitted the nomination last fall, Caudle said, and the department received notification of the award at the end of last year.

“They were nominated for their hard work and dedication for the 1026 (Roanoke Avenue) green space project,” Caudle said this morning. “They really understood our vision and helped it come to life. It would not have been possible to do this without them and that’s why they are our champions.”

The city’s public works department was among several public works departments across the state to be recognized as North Carolina Main Street Champions.

“Typically public works departments have a street department,” Caudle said. “Developing and cultivating a relationship with this department is vital to Main Street revitalization programs.”

Caudle said the department will be honored locally at city council’s first meeting in April.

During the ceremony in Salisbury 43 champions received honors for contributions to their Main Street programs and downtown districts in 2018. This year’s group of Main Street Champions brings the total number to 721 recognized by the North Carolina Department of Commerce over the past 19 years.

“Every city and town needs a champion — someone that will step up and invest time and money in the community, improve the quality of life and grow economic vibrancy throughout the state,” said Anthony M.Copeland, North Carolina secretary of commerce. “Commerce is so pleased, each year, to recognize those individuals that are making a difference in their communities.”

Liz Parham, director of the North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center, said, “The key to the success of the local Main Street program is its people, those individuals that take extraordinary pride in their downtown revitalization initiatives and the vitality of their community and are willing to go the extra mile for success.  

“Those individuals have earned the title Main Street Champion. They are local elected officials and staff, community leaders, downtown business owners and employees, and program volunteers. They give 110 percent and then ask, ‘what’s next?’”