James Warren Honored as Main Street Champion

May 2016

James Warren

Left to right: Dr. Patricia Mitchell, Assistant Secretary Rural Economic Development Division; James Warren, 2015 Main Street Champion; and John E. Skvarla III, Secretary N.C. Dept. of Commerce. Photo courtesy of Town of Wake Forest

Wake Forest Downtown, Inc. board member and local attorney James Warren was recognized as a 2015 Main Street Champion during the 2016 N.C. Main Street Awards Conference in Goldsboro on March 18.  

Altogether, 37 individuals from across North Carolina received honors for their contributions last year. This year’s group of Main Street Champions brings the total number to 603 since Champions were first named in 1980 as part of N.C. Main Street’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Downtown Development Director Lisa Hayes says Warren was an obvious choice due to his initiative and longstanding support of downtown.

“Every community has a ‘go-to’ person who makes things happen and gets things done,” said Hayes. “That person in Wake Forest is James Warren.”

“James has practiced law in our downtown for over 40 years and is a true champion for our property owners, businesses and community,” she continued. “He has always been committed to the economic health of our community and is a huge supporter of our local organizations, both monetarily and in volunteer time.”

According to N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III, Main Street Champions are recognized for their commitment to downtown improvements and strong communities.

“Main Street Champions recognize the possibilities in their downtowns and strive to make those possibilities a reality,” said Skvarla. “N.C. Main Street Champions represent some of our communities’ most valued leaders.

Liz Parham, director of the N.C. Main Street & Rural Planning Center, echoed Skvarla’s comments.

“This year’s Champions represent board members and volunteers, nonprofit leaders, downtown developers, small business owners, elected officials, city employees and more,” she said. “These individuals give 110% to their community and then ask, ‘what’s next’.”

In her narrative nominating Warren as a Main Street Champion, Hayes emphasized Warren’s love for Wake Forest and his preference to shun the spotlight.

“James often works quietly behind the scenes to spur economic development in our downtown area as well as to support our many businesses,” wrote Hayes. “He can be found at just about every event and gathering, and his support and love for our downtown community is evident in everything he does!”

The N.C. Main Street Center works to stimulate economic development within the context of historic preservation, using a comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and utilized by the National Main Street Center to assist communities across the country. For more information, visit www.nccommerce.com/rd/main-street.