It’s 7:30 a.m., and Tami Langdon is on her way to Town Hall. But first, she will drive up and down Mocksville’s side streets and North and South Main Street to ensure nothing is broken or in need of repair.
“It’s important that everything looks good and everybody is ok,” explains Langdon, Mocksville’s Community Development Coordinator.
Once she reaches the office, she reviews her day’s schedule, knowing it will likely change. “You are pretty good for the first hour but then life changes,” she says with a grin. Since Langdon is well-versed in all things Mocksville, she often receives calls or unexpected visits from folks needing information or help with an issue, and she is always willing to lend a hand.
She says flexibility is the name of the game. “In this job, you have to be ready to step back and punt. Your first priority is always the public; whether they are upset or they just want to talk, you always find time for that person. That’s what keeps this town moving, in my opinion.”
No Job is Too Big or Too Small
When asked to describe her job, she responded, “Community Development is just how it sounds, working with the entire community of the Town of Mocksville, the downtown merchants, several non-profits, the residents, and the different departments that help make this town what it is including Parks and Grounds, Public Works, the Mocksville Fire Department, and the Davie County Sheriff’s Office who have been very good keeping our community safe.”
After 25 years with the Town as a volunteer, then as a part-timer staging events, and for the past seven years as the community development coordinator, Langdon has become a “jack of all trades.” While her primary role is planning capital or physical projects for the town and organizing and executing special events, she is just as likely to tackle random tasks like picking up trash, pinching back flowers, or counting feral cats. She considers no job too big or too small if it benefits the Town.
Community Development Leadership Requires Flexibility
It’s that attitude that makes her such an asset to the Town. Tami’s efforts in Community Development are truly the blood that pumps through our downtown,” said Town Manager Ken Gamble. “She has formed great partnerships over the years to improve the appearance of downtown, attract businesses, promote events and bring a great sense of fun and community to the Town center.”
She and her assistant, Susan Lewis, wear numerous hats, such as managing the Town’s revitalization and beautification projects. Beautification tasks include working with all of the town departments to ensure that sidewalks, alleyways, and parking lots are clean and looking good and that visitors have comfortable benches to sit on.
The department is also responsible for the trees and planters along Main Street. Recently, they coordinated the removal of the large planters and the installation of smaller ones, and the planting of trees in the sidewalks. “In order to make the Town accessible to everyone, we had to ensure that people have room to travel down the sidewalks safely, particularly those with walkers or in wheelchairs,” she explained.”
More in-depth capital improvement projects require patience and vision. For instance, it took four years of careful planning to purchase all of the colorful seasonal banners that adorn the light posts along Main Street and add cohesiveness to Downtown.
Now, Langdon is focusing on wayfaring signage, often seen in larger communities, that will direct people to various spots in town. The first signs are up, but the complete purchase and installation will be made over six years.
Another priority is the revitalization of East Depot Street. She is currently working with its merchants and residents to determine what will best enhance the area.
Revitalization, Beautification & Special Events Bring New Faces to Mocksville
Many revitalization projects fall under the Main Street America program, a framework for preservation-based economic development and community revitalization. “Since joining the program in 1991, we’ve been working to revitalize and improve the viability and appearance of the downtown business district as well as promoting the entire community to invite locals and visitors alike to live, work and play here,” Langdon said.
She also oversees the Town’s Facade Incentive Grant Program which is dedicated to the renovation and rehabilitation of commercial structures in the Central Business District. Merchants and building owners can apply for partial funding to improve the appearance of their storefronts.
Equally important are the special events that attract locals and out-of-towners to Mocksville. Langdon coordinates special events for the Town of Mocksville and for Mocksville Tourism, for which she has served as the chairperson for the last 16 years. If you’ve ever watched her at one of the events, you know she is a whirling dervish of boundless energy, actively managing setup through teardown.
She is quick to point out that Community Development is a team effort. “I couldn’t do my job without all of the other departments. They really take care of me, particularly on physical projects and special events. Without them, this would be a tough job.”
Local Events Benefit Residents & Out-of-Towners
Events sponsored by Mocksville Tourism include the Mocksville Main Street 5K, Downtown Halloween, Twas the Night Before Bed Races, Christmas parade, Summer Beach Days Concert, and the Daniel Boone and Oaks festivals.
Another annual favorite organized by Community Development is the farmer’s market in the parking lot of the former Mocksville Police Department at 278 N. Main Street. It brings together consumers, farmers, and artisans to buy and sell local fruits, vegetables, plants, and handmade crafts. The final market of the season is October 26th.
Community Development is a Team Effort
She is grateful to the other organizations that host special events that also bring crowds of people to Downtown Mocksville. This year, the newly formed Downtown Mocksville Collaborative (DMC) sponsored a Fairy Walk and a Pirate Party, and COGNITION Davie hosted Touch-a-Truck/ COGNITION Carnival. Those events brought hundreds of people, including many new faces, downtown.
“Mocksville offers fun-filled entertainment for the whole family. Whether you are local or from out of town, we hope that you will come to participate and enjoy our small town.”