For Immediate Release: August 8, 2009
CONTACT: Casey Fields
803.933.1256 (w) or 803.800.7225 (c) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Municipal Association of South Carolina honors Wagener with Achievement Award
The Town of Wagener received a Municipal Achievement Award for its downtown redevelopment project. Town leaders were presented the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s 69th Annual Meeting on August 8. The town won in the 1 -1,000 population category. Thirty-eight cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives this year.
Town officials in Wagener were not happy with the first impression their dilapidated downtown park gave visitors. With overgrown landscaping, rusted equipment and inaccessible to handicapped individuals, officials felt the first impression was probably the last impression as visitors passed through the town.
With the help of a landscape architect, the town developed a master plan. Officials used two town meetings to share the plan with residents and get their input. Town leaders formed a downtown development committee to oversee the work. With help from the county, the state Department of Transportation and Lower Savannah Council of Government, officials secured funding through a Community Development Block Grant and other state sources. The remaining funds came from donations.
Deemed the “street bosses” by town officials, residents did not hesitate sharing their thoughts and opinions throughout the redevelopment project. Officials lowered the elevation of the park to align with the surrounding streets and installed new sidewalks. Thirty new streetlights illuminated benches, picnic tables and pavilions. The Town of Wagener planted more than 150 trees to provide shade and natural beauty.
A building once used as a police department and courtroom found new life as a visitor information center. Visitors can go to this centrally-located building to get tips on local lodging and food.
Together, officials and residents have made progress in making sure Wagener’s first impression would be the right impression.
“Local leaders and residents in the Town of Wagener took a proactive step in providing a positive quality of life for residents and visitors. This redevelopment project is a great way to involve residents in developing strong cities for the state’s competitiveness,” said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association-member cities and towns. More information and a video about the project will be posted.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit Association of incorporated cities and towns dedicated to raising the standards of municipal government through a broad range of services.