Concord and Davidson Main Streets named ‘Great Places’ in state competition

Two of the region’s main streets have won this year’s Great Places in North Carolina competition. Union Street in Concord and Main Street in Davidson were recognized among the state’s top downtowns in the competition sponsored by the N.C. chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-NC).

Concord's Union Street competed with more widely recognized main streets in Chapel Hill and Wilmington for the “People’s Choice” award. But Union Street’s small town,  N.C. Piedmont-feel was popular with more online voters – allowing it to narrowly beat Wilmington’s Market Street by 60 votes.

“We’ve got beautiful old houses, we’ve got a very historic downtown Concord, and people have restored buildings, been proud of the buildings, making things look better than they ever did before,” Concord Mayor Scott Padgett told the Independent Tribune.

While Union Street was the favorite of those voting online, the blend of historic buildings and new development on Main Street in Davidson grabbed the experts’ attention. The competition’s panel of planning directors, journalists, APA leadership and state officials (see complete list of panelists below) selected the college town’s street as one of two “Great Places in the Piedmont.” Fayetteville Street in Raleigh also won in that category.

This was the second year of the APA-NC Great Places Competition, aimed at highlighting walkable and kid-friendly main streets and neighborhoods across the state.

The APA-NC is an organization of 1,500 professional and citizen planners dedicated to preserving and creating great communities throughout North Carolina. For more information, visit


The expert panel was George Chapman, former planning director, City of Raleigh; Ben Hitchings, planning director for the Town of Morrisville and APA-NC president; Elizabeth Hudson, editor, Our State magazine; Rodger Lentz, planning director for the City of Wilson and member of the board of directors of the national American Planning Association; David W. Owens, Gladys Hall Coates Professor of Public Law and Government, UNC School of Government; Mary Joan Pugh, chief of staff, North Carolina Zoo; Ed Johnson, Safe Routes to School Coordinator, NCDOT Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation; Beth Poovey, registered landscape architect, LandDesign.

Winners in all categories:

  • “Great Place in the Mountains”:  Blowing Rock’s Main Street
  • “Great Place in the Piedmont”:  Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street and Davidson’s Main Street
  • “Great Place in the Coastal Plain”:  Fayetteville’s Hay Street
  • “Great Place in the Making”:  Elkin’s Main Street
  • “People’s Choice: Great Main Street”:  Concord’s Union Street
  • “People’s Choice: Great Neighborhood for Kids”:  Clayton’s Riverwood neighborhood