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The City of Seneca received a
Municipal Achievement Award for its downtown Jazz on the Alley event. Officials
accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s Annual
Meeting on July 20. The city won in the public service category. Twenty-nine
cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
As a city
event, Jazz on the Alley shared the same goals as many downtown concert events
when it was first created in 2010. After years of disinvestment in the historic
downtown, planners wanted to provide a reason for local residents and tourists
alike to come downtown, stimulate local businesses and change perceptions of
The event, which
takes place every Thursday night from April to October in Ram Cat Alley, has
grown into something with a wider mission in the years since it started — it
now provides a forum for local nonprofit and charitable organizations to
advocate for their causes and pull in participation from the community.
include the Foothills Alliance, which offers prevention, intervention and
support services to survivors of sexual assault. It hosted the Walk A Mile In
Her Shoes fundraiser, in which participants walk a mile in high heels. The Wild
Hearts Equine Therapy Center staged a three-day Jazz Fest beginning on Thursday
night, allowing them to raise enough money to build a handicapped restroom at
Jazz on the
Alley provides a captive audience for nonprofits that can range from about 500
to 1,000 people. Participation is free for the nonprofits, and the event is
funded primarily through hospitality and accommodations tax dollars.
has bolstered business development and longer business hours in Ram Cat Alley,
now a place of shops, restaurants and even a coffee and craft beer bar. It’s
also generated more tourism for Seneca, with an air club flying in for the
event and a Corvette club visiting from Kentucky.
“Seneca made Ram Cat Alley
into a destination for residents and visitors as well as an event to help local
nonprofits,” said Eric Budds, interim executive director for the Municipal
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.