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 Finalists announced in 'Great Places in N.C.' contest 

North Carolina is filled with vibrant Main Streets. Now residents throughout the state have the opportunity to choose their favorite.

The contest is part of an initiative called "Great Places in North Carolina" sponsored by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association. This year the program is honoring “Great Main Streets”. North Carolina residents can vote online for their favorite Main Street through April 30th by going to www.nc-apa.org/greatplaces. Once there, they will find information on how to vote for the “People's Choice”.

A panel of experts chose six “People’s Choice” award finalists from the more than 40 nominations submitted by North Carolina residents. The finalists include: Mount Airy and Waynesville from the mountains; Davidson and Salisbury from the Piedmont; and Roseboro and Southport from the coast.

“We received a wonderful array of nominations for main streets across North Carolina,” said Ben Hitchings, president-elect of APA-NC and chair of the initiative. “We were impressed by the efforts of communities across the state to make their main streets great places.”

“Through this program, we hope to celebrate the great places that make North Carolina special,” said Fleming El-Amin, president of APA-NC. “We invite people across the state to help us by voting online for their favorite main street.”

The expert panel that made the selections included the APA-NC chapter president (Fleming El- Amin), two Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (George Chapman, Sue Schwartz), a Fellow from the American Society of Landscape Architects (Rodney Swink), and representatives from two partner organizations (Professor David Owens from the UNC School of Government and Elizabeth Hudson, editor of Our State magazine).

All the selections will be announced in late May. Each place chosen will receive a framed certificate and will be featured in APA-NC outreach efforts and on www.nc-apa.org/greatplaces.

“Our plan is to make this an annual event,” said Hitchings. “Based on the quality of the nominations received this year, we’ll have many great places to celebrate across North Carolina in the future.”

The program was inspired by the “Great Places in America” program sponsored by the American Planning Association, which celebrates places across the country that are of exemplary character, quality, and planning. The North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association is an organization of 1,500 professional and citizen planners dedicated to preserving and creating great communities throughout North Carolina. For more information, please visit www.nc-apa.org.