The Municipal Association of SC offers a hands-on, proven approach to revitalizing downtown commercial districts through its Main Street South Carolina technical assistance program. As the state coordinating program of Main Street America, Main Street SC helps local revitalization programs implement the nationally recognized Main Street Four-Point Approach, which focuses on leveraging local assets, from cultural and architectural heritage to local initiatives and community pride.
Currently, 32 communities participate in the Main Street SC network. Among these programs, $49 million was invested from the public and private sector in 17 Main Street communities during 2020 despite COVID-19 disruptions.
Several communities have advanced to new levels in the network. Fountain Inn is now part of the Aspiring level, where they will receive three years of hands-on guidance to help build a strong downtown organization with a focus on diversifying the downtown’s economic base. Being selected as an Aspiring member is a competitive process with a limited number of spots available each year.
The Town of Clover has advanced to the Aspiring level of the Main Street
South Carolina network.
“Home to the region’s most comprehensive array of outdoor amenities and a reimagined downtown, the transformative spirit of Fountain Inn has become contagious. As one of South Carolina’s fastest-growing cities, it is essential we empower economic growth through the success of our downtown,” said Kate Kizito, Fountain Inn public relations manager. “Having the support of Main Street South Carolina will ensure that we have the structural and organizational tools needed to ensure smart growth that preserves the character of our city.”
Clover is also advancing to the Aspiring level. Over the last two decades, Clover completed two streetscape projects and redeveloped a major railroad bed in the center of Main Street.
“After years of discussions about how the Town of Clover can improve economic development, we finally landed on the Main Street SC program as being the best way to accomplish all our goals: support and attract local business while improving the quality of life of our community and preserving the very fabric which makes our Main Street so special,” said Allison Harvey, Clover’s town administrator.
“One of the major initiatives for Clover includes greater engagement with its downtown small business community. This is where Main Street programs excel. We provide communication strategies for quality connections between all partners, specifically small businesses,” said Jenny Boulware, Main Street SC Manager.
Downtown Florence, another Main Street SC community, has also demonstrated its effectiveness recently, having received national accreditation during an annual review process. Florence affirmed its successes, addressed its challenges and highlighted its future downtown economic development plans.
“We could not have accomplished this goal without the help our team, partners, investors, business owners, community leaders, citizens, volunteers, and comprehensive planning process,” said Hannah Davis, Florence’s development manager. “The Main Street Approach is a powerful holistic tool for transforming places, and this accomplishment isn’t just for Downtown Florence — it’s for the whole city. The ripple effect generated from targeted investment in the downtown redevelopment district is felt community-wide, through industry moving in and creating jobs, expansion of our medical and education facilities, quality of life for our residents, and generation of tourism revenue from visitors.”
Boulware noted that “Main Street SC equips our communities with the tools they need to revitalize their historic districts and make them the economic and cultural heart of their community. Florence has defined successful revitalization in the Pee Dee region.”
As South Carolina charts its economic development future, the Main Street Approach can help create new jobs, expand businesses, complete redevelopment projects, and catalyze public and private investment in South Carolina’s historic downtowns.
To learn more about Main Street South Carolina, visit www.masc.sc (keyword: Main Street).