LAURINBURG – Daniel Walters sees his new position as a labor of love.
Walters was hired recently to serve as the city’s public information officer as well as the downtown development coordinator of the eagerly anticipated Main Street Community designation.
The Laurel Hill native described Laurinburg as “a great city” with room to grow.
“I saw this as an opportunity to give back and help Laurinburg become an even better city,” he said.
In addition to helping redo the city’s website, Walters will direct much of the city’s efforts to revitalize downtown. The business district is already designated a Downtown Associates Community, but could soon move to the more prestigious Main Street status.
With that designation comes the ability to apply to for certain services and receive up to three years of downtown renewal assistance from the NC Main Street Center. The downtown will also get assistance in maintaining historical integrity and help with action plans to draw businesses and visitors to downtown.
“That will provide us with more resources and funding for the downtown area, we’ll have access to people who specialize in grants,” said Walters, who is getting to know merchants in the district. “The Main Street program consists of four different elements: organization, promotion, design and economic vitality.”
To do that, Walters is putting together two advisory committees to create a vision and plan to move forward and to promote downtown.
“Promotions, that’s the Story Telling Festival, Christmas on Main, Springfest and seeing what we can do to promote those better also to even maybe create other new festivals like the Spring Festival,” Walters said. “See what we can add to it to bring more people downtown as well.”
The commission will also look ways what physical improvements can be made to the area focusing on green spaces or streetscapes, lighting, benches, sidewalks, areas like the walk through and parking while keeping the historical aspects.
“I’ve been excited about this job and really getting into it,” Walters said. “I want to see more businesses downtown and see vacant buildings filled and see it thrive downtown, see Laurinburg thrive as a whole. I don’t want to take away from other businesses; I just want to see downtown thrive.”
Walters hopes to have the designation by July 2018.
Walters earned his degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from UNC Pembroke.
He lives in Laurinburg with his wife, Megan − who is a Laurinburg native, and two dogs Addie and Maggie.
The couple returned to Laurinburg to be near family and to reinvest in the town.
“I went to UNC Charlotte and got out of the area for a time, but when I saw an opportunity to come back and help, I see the importance of that now,” Walters said. “The more people we do have coming back and taking an interest in the city and giving back to the community, I believe it will be better, that we can get more potential.”
Walters is the son of Mike and Joan Walters and is a 2012 graduate of Scotland High School.