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Cayce River Arts District Development 

For years, Cayce pushed to find a way to build revitalization energy in its original central business district, a place of derelict and underutilized buildings suffering from crime and depressed property values. The city achieved redevelopment traction using “previtalization,” a concept introduced to the city by the Mayors’ Institute of City Design, to highlight the district’s potential. The installation of a downtown trailhead for the city’s Riverwalk helped as well.   

The redevelopment effort included strategic public art installations, with the city helping to initiate the Cayce Arts Guild. Projects included murals, sculptures, a city-owned Art Lot with a stage, and window wraps to help people see what the district could become with new activity. The city also updated zoning, and in 2017 it created the “Soiree on State” street party, which asked property owners to clean out their buildings so they could host artists. The success of the first Soiree led to the first of new businesses opening in spaces that had stood vacant.

Grants obtained by the city helped with many aspects of the redevelopment, providing for the development of the Art Lot, a district brand identity created by a local business owner, the costs of some of the art installations, as well as decorative storm drains, artistic benches and bike racks. The city partnered with its neighbor, West Columbia, to create wayfinding signage for the area’s attractions, including the River Arts District.  

After its first seven years, the ongoing project has led to increased commercial activity, property values and safety.  

Contact Tracy Hegler at or 803.550.9522.