04/29/04 — Mount Olive Spring Fling promotes plan to revamp downtown

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Mount Olive Spring Fling promotes plan to revamp downtown

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 29, 2004 2:05 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive is continuing with its plans to revamp downtown and will hold a promotion event next month.

A Spring Fling open house will be held from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday, May 21, in downtown Mount Olive.

Charles Brown, chairman of the Promotions Subcommittee of the Small Town Development Project under way in downtown Mount Olive, says his committee will be pleased if it ends up with something nearly as successful as the one it held in November. The Holiday Open House in November was the committee's first group promotion.

Oliver's Railroad Grille has offered the group use of the restaurant's patio and a disk jockey. A dance is planned from 7 p.m., with a Shag contest at 8 p.m. Southern Bank has donated some door prizes.

Ruffles & Bows plans another fashion show and is looking for models.

A year ago nobody dreamed of such things, said Patti O'Donoghue, chairman of the Small Town committee, which met Tuesday to receive updates from the various committees.

The Economic Restructuring Subcommittee reported completion of a checklist to help businesses come to Mount Olive. The checklist will include a walking map of downtown and can be found at the Chamber of Commerce or at Town Hall.

Robert Shepherd of Southern Bank said banks are working together on a package to offer for startup businesses downtown. He and Mount Olive Mayor Ruff Huggins are also working on forming a nonprofit corporation to administer the program.

The project coordinator for the Department of Commerce, Bob Murphrey, said he has seen good results across the board in all four towns that are participating in the Small Town Project.

Murphy said seven downtown buildings have either been rehabilitated or are being considered for rehabilitation. Several new businesses have opened. Two businesses have closed, but two others have expanded.

Three properties have been sold in the past nine months. Mount Olive may see as many as 38 new employees downtown, he said.