Despite its name, Travelers Rest did not slow down motorists traveling on busy U.S. 25 Main Street to visit downtown. The thoroughfare was wide with cracked and narrow sidewalks. There were no trees or benches and few viable businesses along Main Street. The once vibrant commercial district had lost its character and charm. Officials knew that a central business district was vital to the city’s long-term success.
With funding from a Transportation Enhancement Grant, the city hired an urban planner to develop a master plan for Main Street. They used a series of public meetings, interviews and research to develop the plan. Throughout the process, officials collaborated with local colleges, businesses and state agencies for their guidance and expertise. Funded by hospitality and local accommodations tax revenue and county transportation committee c-fund grants, the renaissance of downtown Travelers Rest began.
Crews reduced the four-lane highway to two lanes with a landscaped median and wide sidewalks. They added a new park, landscaping, streetlights and park benches.
At the same time, the Swamp Rabbit Trail — an eleven-mile walkway that connects Travelers Rest with Greenville — received a major facelift with cooperation and contributions from Greenville County Recreation District and Furman University. The newly enhanced trail played a major role in spurring the work along Main Street.
To complement and promote the downtown changes, leaders devised a marketing plan and brand for the city with input from residents. They put up street banners proclaiming,"It starts with TR." Under that slogan are printed words that describe the city: tradition, trade, trails, triumph.
Soon, new businesses opened along Main Street, and existing businesses updated their facades. Restaurants and coffee shops began staying open late to accommodate the flurry of evening activity. The new, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and the Swamp Rabbit Trail became popular recreational spots for residents and visitors. Where before there was an unattractive, fly-by space, there is now a thriving city center.
Contact Diana Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864.834.8740.