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Bladenboro rebuilding downtown with state and federal grant money

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:29 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Bladenboro received more than $1,000,000 in combined state and federal grants to help rebuild the downtown area.

The town was devastated by recent hurricanes.

“By the time Florence came through, there was virtually nothing left of the downtown,” said Executive Director of Economic Development Chuck Heustess.

Many businesses were forced to close their doors for good, but some survived — at an expense.

“It was tens of thousands of dollars. And then, after the first one, we tried to prepare it for another one, not expecting another one to happen in our lifetime,” said Mark Hester, owner of The Medicine Shoppe in Bladenboro. They were fortunate enough to keep business up and running at the time, Hester explained, “We had enough people helping us get stuff out of the way before the flood hit.”

Certain parts of downtown Bladenboro are being rebuilt, including the space next to The Medicine Shoppe, but mainly the piece of land across the street.

“You know, we wanna see the town grow, do well, be a blessing to people, make a difference,” said Hester.

With just over 12,000 square feet of space, Bladenboro officials hope up to nine new businesses can make a positive impact on this one stoplight town. “These are businesses that we believe are going to create the traffic to revitalize the downtown,” said Heustess.

This town makeover wouldn’t be possible without Build the ‘Boro, a community organization dedicated to keeping Bladenboro afloat since 2003.

“That’s our major focus, make our town a better place for all our citizens, and for generations to come,” said Don White of Build the ‘Boro.

Some residents, old and new, stopped by the property to comment on how excited they are for something new to come to the town.

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