Candor has been selected as part of a pilot project known as the North Carolina Small Towns Economic Prosperity (NC STEP) Demonstration Program. What is STEP? The program is designed to develop and test ways to encourage small town revitalization through services, educational opportunities and grants. The program is administered by the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, Inc.
WHY CANDOR FOR STEP
Like many small towns in rural North Carolina, the Town of Candor finds itself at a crossroads. Agriculture and manufacturing, traditional sources of jobs and economic vitality, have been changing and are continuing to change. Traffic that once flowed up and down Highway 220 now runs along Interstate 73/74, just outside of town. Candor’s once-vital downtown area suffers deterioration and multiple vacancies. While Candor is fortunate to retain significant manufacturing jobs, the Town knows that these industries, too, could close or relocate. The NC STEP process has provided the Town of Candor an opportunity to develop an Economic and Community Development Plan, something the Town has never had before. A diverse group of people, including representatives from the Brutonville Community (located just outside the town limits) met to assess the Town’s assets, needs, and opportunities. Never before has such a diverse group met to discuss and plan for the future of their community. In the course of the work, people became aware of numerous assets, some of which they had not recognized before: vacant buildings, good transportation systems (interstate and railroad), plentiful land, and people who care about the community. Moreover, the Town of Candor and Brutonville worked as one community, and people who had never participated in any kind of planning process (which was almost everyone) learned the basic principles of community economic development and strategic planning.
CANDOR'S VISON FOR THE FUTURE
The Town of Candor and the surrounding community will be a vibrant, attractive, safe place to live and work. Residents of all ages will choose to stay (or return) and contribute to community life, and a rich mixture of agricultural, industrial, and commercial enterprises will support a sustainable local economy and a growing population.
The STEP Committee will continue to meet monthly for the next few years as they work to make this program a reality. Please come and provide your input into future of Candor. Check the Home Page for the date and times of STEP meetings.
One strategy identified in the STEP Plan includes relocating and renovating the old railroad depot that is currently located on south railroad street and converting it into a visitors center with sections available for commercial lease.
Another strategy includes making Candor more esthetically pleasing by improving the landscaping around buildings, renovating existing buildings, removing buildings that are no longer safe for commercial use or habitation.