Love Your Downtown

— Written By Leeann Crump and last updated by Nancy Power
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by Leeann Crump

A Gallup Poll in the past few years uncovered a significant link between the emotional attachment residents feel toward their community and economic growth. The more emotionally attached we are to our community, the more likely we are to make our home here, spend our money here and, if possible, work here.

 A large part of our attachment to this community can be found in our downtowns, called the “soul of the community” by the Gallup Poll. Three dimensions of community life are important in fostering our emotional attachments: openness, social offerings and aesthetics.

 Whether you live in Rockingham, Hamlet, Ellerbe, or another of our small towns in Richmond County, you can reflect on these three things in relation to your community. Do all people feel welcome in your town? Are there enough social offerings for new people to meet others and for the residents to socialize? How attractive is your town? What parks, trails and other attractions does it offer?

 You may be reading this and reflecting about your town and how much you love it! Or you may be thinking of areas of improvement that would enhance your town. Below are steps we can take to make our towns more attractive, more friendly and better places to live, shop and work.

 1 – Talk about your town in a positive way. Since moving here, I have had many people ask me why I would move to Richmond County! It is such a beautiful and friendly place that this surprises me each time. Encourage people to visit us and tell them about the great things happening here.

 2 – Volunteer. We need more “citizen engagement.” The old saying that 80% of the work is being done by 20% of the people rings true sometimes. The next time someone asks you to serve on a committee, lead a task force, or participate in a survey or focus group, consider doing it! Or start something new in your neighborhood, like a social event or cleanup day.

 3 – Get Involved. If you are interested in improvements in Rockingham you should join the Rockingham Downtown Corporation for lunch. This group has been meeting for years together and has accomplished many things for downtown, such as sponsoring Christmas On The Square and assisting the city with improvements. Their mission is to improve, preserve and promote downtown Rockingham. For more information, check out their Facebook page at  The group can also be contacted Other towns may have similar groups as well. All downtown merchants should consider becoming active in such groups.

Written By

Leeann Crump, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionLeeann CrumpCounty Extension Administrative Assistant Call Leeann Email Leeann N.C. Cooperative Extension, Richmond County Center
Updated on Jan 12, 2021
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