City of Aiken

New City of Aiken Public Safety Headquarters
In the 1970s, the City of Aiken became one of the first to embrace the concept of a combined police and fire department and built a public safety headquarters for the combined department. A 2016 analysis found that growth made this space inadequate. Storage closets were converted to office space, and the building became a morale and retention issue. City Council decided to replace the headquarters and obtained a shuttered grocery store for the new location. 

The finished 46,000-square-foot facility was funded by a successful capital project sales tax referendum and utility bill franchise fee. The new headquarters includes police, fire, a courtroom that can also serve as multipurpose space, an emergency operations center/training facility and a 911/dispatch operations center.  

Contact Brian Brazier at or 803.293.7836.

City of Clemson

Abernathy Park Community Redecking
Built in 2003 along Lake Hartwell, the Larry W. Abernathy Waterfront Park needed its boardwalk replaced after 15 years. City leaders decided to replace 7,000 linear feet of wood decking with a composite material and also provide landscaping, brush removal and litter removal using volunteer workers.

The project ultimately included four separate volunteer work periods and 248 volunteers. They replaced 13,000 boards, used 156,000 stainless steel screws and removed six tons of invasive plants. With an initial work period coinciding with Clemson University’s spring break, the project used marketing efforts for recruitment and inexpensive signup management software. The liability waiver was crafted to be humorous and encourage volunteers to read it. The city also provided volunteers with lunch and a commemorative T-shirt. 

Contact Richard Cotton at or 864.653.2030. 

City of Conway

Hurricane Florence — Preparation, Response, Recovery, Transparency
Through the flooding events of 2013, 2015 and 2016, the City of Conway gathered valuable communications experience. It hired a public information officer just ahead of the flooding crises that came from Hurricane Florence. Before, during and after the storm, the city made strategic use of many communication channels to send consistent, transparent and engaging messages, telling the city’s story in a way that put residents first. The city’s social media messages ultimately reached 1.4 million people during the emergency period.

Door-to-door warnings also formed a key part of the communications effort. City staff used flood modelling to show what neighborhoods they needed to target for evacuation. They warned residents while facing the challenge of raising the alarm before flooding impacted the area. Efforts were justified when flooding experience matched up with predictions.

Contact Adam Emrick at or 843.248.1760.

City of Denmark

New Denmark City Hall
Denmark faced several concerns with the converted bank building it had been using as a city
hall — the space was too small, it had no designated parking, it lacked a drive-thru for bill payment and it needed more meeting space. Leaders felt that the city needed something more modern that could efficiently provide for services.

City Council researched other city halls in the region and sought ideas and input from residents and city staff. The city acquired a property for the new site that was a former railroad bed. It also obtained and cleared an adjacent property, which will provide space for the Denmark Dogwood Festival. The new city hall ties into the larger strategic goal of encouraging downtown development.

Contact Heyward Robinson at or 803.793.3734.

City of Easley

Connecting Our Future: An Active Approach to Affordable Housing
The City of Easley wanted to promote affordable housing in its northern section, a historically African-American area that was facing rising home prices. It acquired properties adjacent to future development along the Doodle Trail — the rails-to-trails partnership between Easley and Pickens — allowing for build-to-suit homes for eligible buyers. Construction has started for these homes. The trail access will be a benefit to the residents and is in keeping with the recommendations of the city’s Bike and Pedestrian Plan and the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

On the acquired properties, the city demolished more than 40 dilapidated homes to provide for the infill development. Successful applicants meeting the average median income of the area qualify for 100 percent financing of the construction loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Contact Megan Wallace at or 864.293.2185.

City of Fountain Inn

Community/Government Outreach — Neighborhood Roundtable Discussion Meetings
Fountain Inn staff set a goal of providing residents with a way to voice their concerns in an environment outside of City Hall and outside of council meetings. This goal encourages more resident involvement in local government and collaborating with people and neighborhoods that are not typically involved. City staff set up a series of Neighborhood Roundtable Discussion meetings in such places as churches, the public library and even in a resident’s home.

Funding for the meetings came from a budget line item for community outreach as well as from a $1,200 donation from the Chapman Foundation. The meetings are informal and included dinner. Residents at the outreach meetings have brought previously unknown issues to the attention of staff. The city is seeking to expand meeting locations and partnerships and to schedule 10 of these meetings per year.

Contact Ashlee Tolbert at or 864.862.7233.

City of Greer

Anything Out of the Car: Community Outreach
Seeking to combat the impacts of gangs, opioids and illiteracy, the City of Greer Police Department created a program to build trust between the police and the community they serve, making sure that officers are having positive interactions with the public. The Anything Out of the Car programs encourage officers to initiate conversations with residents of all ages, both individually and in group settings.

The programs include neighborhood walk-and-talk events as well as community meetings. Fist Bump Friday events involve officers greeting students as they arrive at school in the morning. The Real Men Read effort, began at a local elementary school to counter the idea that men need literacy less than women, pulled in police officers as participants. The department also paid for the Gang Resistance Education and Training program from its own training budget. 

Contact Steve Owens at or 864.416.0121.

City of Hardeeville

Hardeeville Commerce Park — “A Game Changer” for the City

Being small and rural presents an economic development challenge for cities like Hardeeville, but the city has now taken advantage of its Interstate 95 location with the 167-acre Hardeeville Commerce Park, a commercial and light industrial park located in its downtown.
The city received a donation of 131 acres for the park and purchased an adjoining 36 acres. Before the park could be built, the city harvested timber from the property twice, generating more than $150,000 of the funding needed. SC Rural Infrastructure Authority funding provided for water and wastewater expansions, and Jasper County local option sales tax funding paid for entryway roads.

Hardeeville partnered with the Southern Carolina Alliance and SC Department of Commerce to market the park to business prospects. It sold three parcels for new business development and expansion, and will continue developing infrastructure to allow for as many as 15 new businesses.

Contact Neil Parsons at or 843.784.2231.

Town of Hilton Head Island

The Breeze Trolley
Significant population and visitor growth on Hilton Head Island have contributed to congestion, especially during the summer. In response, the town partnered with Palmetto Breeze to establish a shuttle service to reduce traffic, promoted with a marketing campaign and making careful use of branding.

Palmetto Breeze used Federal Transit Administration grant funding for three trolleys with additional money for marketing and operating. It also leveraged some town matching grant money. The trolleys, which run on clean diesel, feature wood interiors, free Wi-Fi and bicycle racks. Volunteer ambassadors ride the trolleys to welcome visitors and answer questions.
The initial 2018 season saw wide-ranging marketing efforts — print, television, web, social media and through local businesses — and more than 5,500 passengers rode the trolleys. For 2019, a new route will accommodate another shopping area, an RV resort and later operational hours.

Contact Jennifer Ray at or 843.341.4665.

City of Johnsonville

Renovation of Odell Venters Landing
The Odell Venters Landing provides recreational access to the Lynches River and a historical connection as well: it stands on the site of Witherspoon’s Ferry, where Gen. Francis Marion accepted command of the Williamsburg Militia during the Revolutionary War. Since the concrete ramp was decaying and the parking lot provided insufficient space on busy days, valuable tourism traffic was shifting to other landings further away from the City of Johnsonville.

Recognizing the need to improve recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike, the city worked with the SC Department of Natural Resources and secured grants for a renovation of the landing. The finished product features a 155-foot-by-80-foot concrete ramp, an aluminum floating courtesy dock as well as a resurfaced and enlarged parking lot. The city also added a launch for kayaks and canoes and a sandy beach for mooring small boats.

Contact David Mace at or 843.625.1667.

Town of Lexington

Town of Lexington’s I-20 Wastewater Treatment Facility Takeover
When the I-20 wastewater treatment center on the Saluda River was privately operated, it accumulated several SC Department of Health and Environmental Control violations. DHEC denied the private company its necessary permit, opening the door for the Town of Lexington to take over the facility.

In the first month of ownership, the town diverted all flow to the Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility in Cayce. Previously, Lexington worked with the City of Cayce and the Joint Municipal Water and Sewer Commission to create that facility. Since it opened, the Town of Lexington has shut down four older facilities in addition to the I-20 facility as part of a regional plan.
For funding, the town will use State Revolving Loan funds as much as possible along with bond issuances and operational income. Its long-term goal is for the I-20 system to be self-sustaining for operational costs.

Contact Jennifer Dowden at or 803.356.8238.

Town of Moncks Corner

Prom Promise Week
Outreach efforts of the Moncks Corner Police Department include engaging with Berkeley High School students ahead of their prom, helping them to understand the risks of alcohol and drug use as well as driving while impaired.

The department offers an impaired driving simulator as well as using inebriation-simulating goggles on a golf cart driving course. The officers aimed to engage personally with the students, even entertaining them by showing them how police perform in the impaired driving simulator. The department partners with several other regional agencies, brings in speakers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Lexington County, and even brings in local food vendors to sell lunch.

The effort has received positive feedback from students, parents and teachers. The 2018 prom saw no negative interactions with school officials or law enforcement, and the department is planning on expanding the program to Berkeley Middle College.
Contact Rick Ollic at or 843.719.7930.

Town of Mount Pleasant

Active Threat Preparedness Program
Responding to several years of high-profile violence incidents around the nation such as active shooter events, the Town of Mount Pleasant created an Active Threat Preparedness Program to prevent events and minimize the risks of harm.

The town used free instructor courses — Avoid, Deny Defend as well as Stop the Bleed — and spent $800 on materials. The town’s SWAT commander performed facility security assessments, complemented by free Federal Emergency Management Agency courses on environmental design for business safety. The town also obtained Tactical Emergency Casualty Care certification for $15 per responder, as well as $1,800 worth of exercise materials.

The program ultimately trained 275 people at Town Hall as well as teachers and administrators at 23 schools, staff and congregants at three churches, and community businesses. Future steps include facility security upgrades and more training and security assessments at community gathering places.

Contact Amanda Knight at or 843.996.0030.

City of Myrtle Beach

City Leadership Institute of Myrtle Beach
Facing the prospect of widespread retirement among department leaders with no formal succession plan, the City of Myrtle Beach created a progressive staff development program that helps to improve abilities at different levels: rising department heads and employees as well.

The City Leadership Institute of Myrtle Beach made use of budgeted funds to secure a local training and development professional. The program is voluntary and open to all employees. It uses about nine months of class time, including monthly brown-bag lunches featuring group discussions of topics.

With more than 260 graduates of the program, city leaders report a positive culture shift as one of the benefits, with a growing sense of trust and improved morale among employees, declining turnover and improving service.
Contact Angela Kegler at or 843.918.1113.

Town of North

Eartha Kitt Celebration
Singer, actress and dancer Eartha Kitt was a native of North, but despite her fame she had not been memorialized in her hometown. Seeking to change that, the Town of North staged a fundraiser in January 2019 for the establishment of a town museum, promoting tourism and economic development.

The event was the first of its kind in the town’s history. It featured a dinner, silent auction, a video presentation by Sen. Tim Scott and a ballet with original choreography by the Columbia City Ballet. Kitt’s daughter, Kitt Shapiro, travelled from Connecticut for the event, providing items from her mother’s estate for the auction.

The celebration received significant media attention, brought a crowd of more than 200 for the ballet, and garnered about $5,500 in proceeds for the museum. The town now plans to bring the Eartha Kitt Celebration back every other year and also explore other potential funding sources through Undiscovered SC and SC Arts Commission grant programs. 

Contact Patty Carson at or 803.247.6063.

Town of Springdale

Springdale PD’s Daddy & Me 5K
The Springdale police chief at the time noted that he has repeatedly seen negative interactions between the polince and young people lacking a parental figure. Believing that an active father figure can help stop bad influences, he came up with the idea of an annual 5K and “Dadlympics.” The town partnered with Serve & Connect and the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition to plan the event with the simple message that “dads matter.”

The event, aimed at raising awareness of the role of fathers and building partnerships, took place on Father’s Day weekend in 2018. The 5K had more than 80 participants. The Dadlympics included activities like unfolding strollers while holding baby dolls, changing a baby doll’s diaper, pushing a bubble lawn mower and strapping baby dolls into child restraint seats.
The event raised enough money to donate more than $12,000 to the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition.

Contact the Ashley Watkins at or 803.794.0408.

Town of Summerville

Communication Through Outreach
Aiming to change negative perceptions about interactions with law enforcement, the Town of Summerville Police Department has taken on numerous community outreach efforts. The initiative began with brainstorming on how to make engagement work in fun and relaxed settings and shifting officers to serve as the department’s ambassadors to the community.

Results of that planning have included a No-Shave November for officers to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, using a military vehicle for a food and toy donation drive, multiple Special Olympics events, a Senior Citizens’ Prom, neighborhood cleanups, connecting with school resource officers to identify children in need of Christmas gifts, and events for having coffee and ice cream with officers. The Turkeys Instead of Tickets campaign had officers distributing Thanksgiving turkeys when stopping drivers for minor traffic violations. The department also focuses on highly positive social media postings and has drawn in about 40,000 social media followers.

Contact Jon Rogers at or 843.285.7027.

City of Sumter

eSTEAM Sumter
As the City of Sumter succeeds in recruiting national and international companies, the development of a reliable supply of talent for the area has become increasingly important. For this reason, eSTEAM Sumter exists to bring together pre-K and K-12 schools as well as universities and tech schools to promote STEAM, also known as science, technology, engineering, arts and math. 

In its first year, eSTEAM Sumter brought together more than 3,000 participants, 16 partnering organizations and 63 exhibitors for activities encompassing an entire city block to expose students to career opportunities in the Sumter community through hands-on activities. Funding came from workforce development organizations like the Regional Economic Development Alliance, Sumter Chamber of Commerce and the SC Department of Commerce Workforce Division.

Although planners conceived of the project as a one-time event, the success of it led them to plan to host the event annually and to create more activities and events inside schools.
Contact Shelley Kile at or 803.795.2463.

City of West Columbia 

West Columbia River District Redevelopment
In promoting its iconic River District, located on the bank of the Congaree River, West Columbia knew it needed more public parking, greenspace, connectivity and even public art.
To achieve this, the city commissioned a professional redevelopment plan, hosted community meetings and established a resident committee focused on development of an enabling park for children with special needs. The city also created an art review committee.

The city is building a bicycle lane connecting the district’s State Street with the Triangle City area about a mile away. Grants and hospitality tax money contributed to the projects. Additionally, the city created a public/private partnership with the Brookland development, containing residential, retail and restaurant space.

The park projects, bicycle lane and interactive art sculptures are being completed in 2019. Additional sidewalk and crosswalk projects are scheduled for 2020.
Contact Tara Greenwood at or 803.939.8628.

City of York

Revitalization of Former Gas Station Site
The City of York acquired an old gas station in its downtown in 2000, after which the property came to be used informally for parking and sometimes as a farmers market. In 2018, City Council provided funding for resurfacing and striping parking areas at what has come to be known as the City Market. The city considered removing the dilapidated canopy of the gas station, but instead chose to rehabilitate it in recognition of the property’s historic character and with an eye towards its potential for event space.

Capital project funds supported the resurfacing and striping. Hospitality tax funds covered material costs for the canopy repair, while the York Fire Department performed all work on the canopy, with every member of the department participating.

The city has seen an increase in requests for special events at City Market, and it possesses adjacent property that could be used for an expansion.

Contact Domenic Manera at or 803.684.1700.