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Town of Marshall

Marshall, the seat of Madison County, was battered by two natural disasters in 2004. Flooding from hurricanes Frances and Ivan covered downtown with up to 30 inches of water from the French Broad River. As a result, the county moved its offices to the bypass on the outskirts of town, hurting businesses that relied on county employees and visitors. Now Marshall is trying to bring people back by marketing its picturesque surroundings and cultivating an environment that is friendly to new business development.


Snapshot before NC STEP

Many downtown businesses closed or relocated to the bypass after the 2004 hurricanes. Consequently, the downtown area consisted largely of underused or vacant buildings and tired-looking public spaces. Marshall developed a business area redevelopment plan that includes storm drainage improvements to minimize future flooding. It also plans to apply for National Historic Register designation for downtown. Some of the 82 downtown structures are being renovated for a mixture of office/retail and residential use. In addition, the Glove Factory building across the river is being redeveloped into office and residential units.


Goals through NC STEP

Through NC STEP, Marshall is working to become a tourist destination. The town is surrounded with beautiful natural assets from the mountains to the French Broad River. The community leadership team decided to implement projects that will attract tourists for river recreation, music and biking. The leadership team also will focus on creating a community that is open to small businesses and entrepreneurs. The team is working to expand the small business center, which offers support and services to entrepreneurs and business owners. Among other goals: to move 12 businesses into currently vacant buildings and add 20 people to the downtown residential population.


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Marshall’s NC STEP kick-off event drew activity downtown. The STEP leadership team is trying to keep the activity alive by attracting tourists for river recreation, music and biking.