Boykins’ Main Street group receives tax-exempt status

Published 8:10 am Friday, August 7, 2009

BOYKINS—The non-profit group Boykins Main Street Initiative, which strives to beautify and attract business to the downtown area, has been granted tax-exempt status by the federal government.

Mayor Spier Edwards said the organization, which is not a part of the town government, has been negotiating with the Internal Revenue Service for two years to be granted 501(c)(3) status.

“The designation means that contributions to the Boykins Main Street Initiative will be tax deductible,” Edwards said.

The group was founded in December 2007 and currently has about 50 members.

According to the mayor, who is also a member of the Main Street Initiative, the organization has recently received a $25,000 planning grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

“We received the grant about four or five months ago,” Edwards said. “We are getting ready to be active in it.”

The non-profit is also trying to secure grant money from the Virginia Department of Transportation. If successful, the VDOT funds could be used to relocate utility lines from along Main Street to behind the businesses that line the street.

“We would like to possibly do that, and perhaps install the kinds of streetlights that have been set up in Franklin or Murfreesboro (N.C.),” Edwards said.

Other ideas for beautifying the downtown area of Boykins, which will celebrate its 125th anniversary in November, include landscaping and signage. Edwards said Emporia and Smithfield are two communities that have similar non-profit organizations for their respective downtowns, and have been able to make similar improvements with their tax-exempt donations.

“Since we got the 501(c)(3) status, we’ll be able to do some of these things ourselves,” Edwards said. “Otherwise we would have had to go through the town. Making improvements to the downtown is something that we are all going to have to work together on.”