Excellence on Main Street Award
Outstanding New Construction Project
Downtown Sumter's Downtown Municipal Parking Garage
City officials understood that one of the secrets to making a city's downtown a desirable destination is making it easy to get to and enjoy. And one of the biggest complaints about most historic downtowns is that there is nowhere to park. If there's nowhere to park, residents and visitors avoid the area.
So city officials decided to build a municipal parking garage — one that was free and open to the public. The new parking garage was built in an existing open air parking lot and offers 201 spaces, which is more than double the number of spaces that available in the flat lot there before.
The idea for the garage was born alongside plans for the Hyatt Place Hotel. When the Hyatt Place Hotel decided in 2016 to locate in Downtown Sumter, part of the agreement was that the city would build a parking garage. It was funded using tax increment financing dollars and built by the same construction company that was building the hotel so as not to get in each other's way. The garage opened in December 2017, and the hotel opened in the spring of 2018.
City leaders wanted more than functional infrastructure, though. The garage was built to blend in with adjacent buildings by using similar brick and muted colors. While mainly built for function and convenience, it is also an attractive building and adheres to the city's Historic Preservation Design Review Guidelines.
Gaines Jontz Rehabilitation Award
City of Clinton's 101 Main Street
City of Clinton officials knew the value of restoring historic buildings to their former beauty. The Homes of Hope 101 Main Street project is a shining example of how to accomplish it. Project leaders leveraged federal and state historic tax credits and abandoned buildings credits to convert a mostly abandoned historic downtown building into a mixed-use space with three market-rate apartments upstairs and three commercial spaces on the ground floor. The commercial areas vary in size from 450 square feet to the 1,200-square foot-space that the First National Bank of Clinton once occupied.
The historic rehabilitation project, assisted by private investors and a low-interest acquisition loan from the Clinton Economic Development Corporation, has energized Clinton's residents, property owners and even caught the attention of future investors. Current property owners are looking to spruce up their buildings, while developers are showing more and more interest in investing in Clinton.