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Hodges Named Main Street Champion

Post Date:03/22/2017 12:04 PM

John Hodges was honored as a 2016 Main Street Champion at the Breakfast with Main Street Champions Ceremony on March 16 during the North Carolina Main Street Conference in Shelby

Hodges served as the Executive Director of the Garner Revitalization Association (GRA) for eight years before taking on his new role as Assistant Town Manager of Development Services for the Town of Garner in 2014.  The GRA Board of Directors nominated Hodges to receive this honor in thanks for his tireless work as a Main Street program manager and on-going advocate for Downtown Garner.

Thirty-six people from active Main Street communities received honors for their contributions in 2016. North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland attended the ceremony at Shelby’s Don Gibson Theater to personally thank each recipient. 

“Downtown districts are important economic engines in our state,” said Secretary Copeland. “The men and women we’re recognizing today are the people who keep those engines running, generating prosperity for communities all across North Carolina.”

Established in 2000 as part of North Carolina Main Street’s 20th anniversary celebration, the Main Street Champion designation acknowledges the extraordinary efforts of those who have played pivotal roles in the revitalization of their downtowns. The dedication and hard work of countless volunteers is required to make a local Main Street program successful. Each of the state’s active Main Street programs is given the opportunity annually to recognize a local Main Street Champion. The addition of this year’s honorees brings the total number of North Carolina Main Street Champions to 639.

“This year’s Champions represent Main Street board members and volunteers, elected officials and city employees, developers, entrepreneurs, artists and leaders in the local food economy,” said Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center.

In recommending Hodges for this honor, Garner Revitalization Association offered the following:

In his eight years as the Executive Director for the Garner Revitalization Association, John Hodges was a consummate advocate for downtown revitalization.  He has a strong ability to cultivate relationships with and between stakeholders; John brought a diverse array of public and private partners to the table as GRA developed the Historic Downtown Garner Plan in 2009. 

Building off of that success, John shepherded the Town of Garner through the Main Street application process the same year--a critical accomplishment that solidified the town’s commitment to long-term downtown revitalization.  John worked tirelessly over the next five years to implement most of the 15-year downtown plan, culminating in the town’s decision to build a recreation center as a civic anchor on Main Street. John’s final contribution as Main Street manager was to acquire properties and actively support a bond referendum to pay for the new facility which will open in 2018.

The Garner Revitalization Association is pleased to recognize John Hodges as its 2016 N.C. Main Street Champion.

About the Main Street Program

Since 1980, the North Carolina Main Street program has generated $2.5 billion in private and public investment. More than 22,400 cumulative NET new full-time and part-time jobs and 5,500 new businesses have been created in North Carolina Main Street districts since the program’s inception.

More information about the North Carolina Main Street & Rural Planning Center and its programs is available online at

About the Garner Revitalization Association

The Garner Revitalization Association (GRA) is a non-profit organization that supports the development of the downtown area as a vibrant business, residential, entertainment and cultural center in partnership with government and private organizations following the Main Street Four-Point Approach.

For additional information about the GRA or this news release, contact Downtown Development Manager Mari Howe at (919)773-4402, or visit  

John Hodges Champion photo

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