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Franklinton Trying to Remake Itself

Franklinton town leaders took Senate leader Marc Basnight and other state leaders on a tour Wednesday in an effort to drum up support for new business development.

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FRANKLINTON, N.C. — Franklinton town officials are trying to attract new business and residents. But for every building that looks attractive downtown, there is another one that is a shell of its former self.

“We've had to remake ourselves, basically,” Mayor Jenny Edwards said.

Decades ago, three mills closed and Franklinton was stripped of 90 percent of its work force. People left the Franklin County town, and businesses closed.

"There had been car dealerships. There had been movie theaters. There had been everything that everybody in a town would want to have that we lack now,” business owner Phillip Young said.

Town leaders said Franklinton has a lot to offer, and to prove that they took Senate leader Marc Basnight and other state leaders on a tour Wednesday. Legislators admit small towns like Franklinton sometimes need incentives to lure businesses back.

Many businesses were turned away by the prospect of having to bring old buildings up to code. Town officials said a $1 million state grant to replenish infrastructure should help with that.

Edwards said that she was glad to see a town with such a rich history on the road to economic recovery.

“The old town feel and the history is this community,” Young said.

“We're from small towns originally, so we really like the small-town atmosphere,” pottery shop owner Leslie Martin said.

The town will also use grant money to refurbish water and sewer lines.


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