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The Town of Bluffton received
a Municipal Achievement Award for two streetscape projects. Officials accepted
the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s Annual Meeting
on July 20. The town won in the 10,001 – 20,000 population category. Twenty-nine
cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
Bluffton has grown rapidly in
recent years. Counting 750 residents in 1998, it now has nearly 20,000. With
this growth, the downtown core known as the Bluffton Historic District has surged
in popularity, underscoring the need for the town to improve its walkability,
accessibility and connectivity.
The town completed two
streetscape projects in 2018: one for May River Road and another for Dr.
Mellichamp Drive, which parallels May River Road to the north. These projects
established the two locations as gateways, adding 220 parking spaces, 98 street
lights, nearly 5,000 linear feet of sidewalks, benches and improved stormwater
drainage. The projects also help provide safe pathways compliant with the
Americans with Disabilities Act from one end of the district to the other.
Additionally, the town installed a device known as a Stormceptor to prevent
hazardous materials like oil, grit and other pollutants from reaching the May
Of the $6.3 million cost of
the streetscaping, the town used a combination of hospitality and accommodations
taxes, stormwater utility fees, municipal improvement development funds,
general fund money and capital improvement program funds. The project also
included a grant from the SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.
In its next steps, the town
will enact a streetscaping project for Calhoun Street, the town’s primary
street, and will also complete the year-long renovation of Bluffton Town Hall.
“The project shows how infrastructure improvements can
improve a downtown and bring more residents and visitors to the town’s core,”
said Eric Budds, interim executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects
undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. Information and a
video about the project are available on the Association’s website www.masc.sc
(keyword: Achievement Awards).
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated
the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and
excellence in local government.