Last updated: July 25. 2013 12:14AM - 1194 Views
By - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

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For 25 years, Downtown Mount Airy Inc. (DMI) has been a guiding force in the city’s central business district and made an imprint with parking and other facilities — but it soon will become history.

That organization, or at least its name, is being phased out in connection with Mount Airy becoming part of the North Carolina Main Street Program, which it was involved with in the past but withdrew from in the 1990s.

Officials of that program, administered by the state Department of Commerce, have suggested the creation of a new corporation to coordinate North Carolina Main Street activities here.

“DMI will be eventually dissolved,” explained City Attorney Hugh Campbell, who said it is being replaced by new non-profit entity known as Mount Airy Downtown Inc.

While maintaining functions of DMI, Campbell indicated, the new 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation will accept funding from grants or donations which is tax-exempt and also offers deduction incentives for contributors.

“It’s taking on a new life with the city joining the Main Street Program,” Campbell said of a downtown-development organization that will continue providing parking facilities while also spearheading marketing and other long-range plans to keep the area viable.

This coincides with the hiring of a coordinator for the Main Street Program, Lizzie Morrison, who started work on July 1.

All contracts or financial transactions that have occurred between the city government and DMI instead will be transferred to Mount Airy Downtown Inc. The new group will continue to administer funds from a municipal service district tax levied on downtown property owners to provide infrastructure improvements for the betterment of all.

DMI, also a non-profit corporation, originally was named Shoppers Parking Lot Inc., which was formed in 1961. While mainly concerned with development of spaces to serve the merchant community, it also has administered aesthetic and facility improvements to both public and private structures over the years.

Shoppers Parking Lot Inc. became defunct in 1988, and had all its operations absorbed by DMI, which had been formed soon before.

“It has had a long and successful career,” the city attorney said of Shoppers Parking Lot/DMI.

Articles of incorporation have been filed to create Mount Airy Downtown Inc., and the city commissioners voted 5-0 last week to designate it as the successor organization to DMI and otherwise facilitate the change in partnership.

Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or tjoyce@civitasmedia.com.

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