LUMBERTON, N.C. (WBTW) — The City of Lumberton has developed a master plan to revitalize its downtown after it received a $900,000 rural transformation grant in 2022.

Sara Beth Ward, the city’s downtown development director said the funds will be used to beautify and upgrade Downtown Lumberton.

Beth said the city was 1 of 15 municipalities selected for the grant and received one of the larger grants.

The Carolina Civic Center is Lumberton’s history theater. Beth said it’s the city’s hope that people use the annex as a multipurpose center that can hold approximately 500 people. The additional space can be used for weddings, events, conferences, and banquets. She is hoping that the addition will bring visitors to Downtown Lumberton.

“We’re such a great location because we’re right off of I-95,” Beth said. “We’re less than a mile away from the interstate and Lumberton is the midpoint between Canada and Florida so we’re really sitting on a goldmine with Downtown Lumberton.”

The city is also seeking to complete beautification efforts on its Pocket Park project to make sure art is represented downtown. The city also received a $29,000 for the Pocket Park. The fencing for the park will be designed by an international sculptor out of Lancaster.

Beth said a thriving downtown is the heartbeat for a healthy city.

“Lumberton is the county seat for Robeson County,” Beth said. “And our county is full of diversity and culture. Part of our mission and vision for downtown is to be all-inclusive and to be a mecca for all things art for our county, for our local artists as well as our non-local artists.”

Beth added that by making Lumberton a destination, it will increase the city’s tax base.

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Taylor Ford is a multimedia journalist for News13. She joined the News13 team in January 2023. Taylor is a Florence native and covers the Pee Dee out of News13’s Florence Bureau. Read more of Taylor’s work here.