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ElectriCities Helps Power Inclusion and Connection with Grants for Downtown Development


Residents in the North Carolina cities of Southport and Lincolnton will soon have more opportunities for community and connection in their downtowns.

Southport and Lincolnton received $10,000 each from ElectriCities’ Downtown Revitalization Grant program. The program helps North Carolina public power communities revitalize their downtowns and stimulate economic growth.

“The Downtown Revitalization Grant helps public power municipalities beautify and upgrade their downtown areas, making those areas more attractive for business investment and visitor spending,” said Carl Rees, Economic and Community Development Manager at ElectriCities.

The City of Southport is using its grant to fund in part a fully inclusive playground in its downtown area. The playground, called Taylor Field of Dreams, is designed to remove physical and social barriers so everyone—with and without disabilities or critical illnesses—can play side-by-side with their peers and families.

For Kathryn, a Southport community member, the Taylor Field of Dreams playground will be a game-changer for her son, Aaron.

“Aaron is an 8-year-old with spina bifida. His physical limitations can make it hard for him to enjoy the standard playground.” Kathryn said. “Most parks use sand or mulch. This can make it hard for a person in a wheelchair or with physical limitations to access the playground. Steps are another obstacle.”

At Taylor Field of Dreams, rubber ground material will enable people of all abilities to access playground equipment completely connected by ramps—no stairs. Learn more about the playground on the City of Southport’s website.

The City of Lincolnton is using its funds to promote its newly approved social district. Lincolnton’s City Council approved the social district earlier this year, following the success of other towns and cities across North Carolina that have set up social districts.

In a social district, consumers can carry alcohol with them as they shop or go between different restaurants and bars within a defined area. The Lincolnton social district includes more than 30 retailers and food establishments.

ElectriCities awards the competitive Downtown Revitalization Grants twice a year—each spring and fall—to its members in the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) and in North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1 (NCMPA1). Grant proceeds must be used for projects that advance the community’s downtown revitalization goals and are approved by the city or town manager or chief executive. The next application cycle for ElectriCities Downtown Revitalization Grants opens in the fall of 2024.

About ElectriCities of North Carolina

ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc., is the membership organization that provides power supply and related critical services to over 90 community-owned electric systems in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia—collectively known as public power. ElectriCities manages the power supply for two power agencies in North Carolina and provides technical services to assist members in operating their electric distribution systems. ElectriCities also helps these locally owned and operated public power providers thrive today and in the future by delivering innovative services, including legislative, technical, communications, and economic development expertise.

Visit to learn more about the benefits of public power and how ElectriCities helps communities keep the lights on through access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy.

Media contact
Deb Clark
Supervisor, External Communications, ElectriCities

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