The Municipal Association of South Carolina has awarded Hometown Economic Development Grants to 12 cities and towns for the 2023 grant cycle.
Available in amounts of up to $25,000 each, the grants fund economic development projects that will have positive effects on a municipality’s quality of life, can be maintained over time and illustrate innovative practices that can be replicated in other cities. The grants have matching requirements of either funds or in-kind contributions ranging from 5% to 15% depending on the size of the municipality.
Many projects supported by HEDG funding have become important focal points and springboards for development in their communities. For example, in 2021, the City of Cayce received HEDG funding to infuse more public art projects into its Cayce River Arts District, part of a larger effort to promote the area’s redevelopment and growth. Redevelopment of the River Arts District, from its design work to public art to its “Art Lot” and special events, has become so successful in Cayce that the city won a 2023 Achievement Award from the Municipal Association for the efforts.
Here are the recipients in the 2023 cycle:
Town of Allendale – Revitalizing Allendale Community Center: "Restoring Hope and Unity"
Through a combination of renovations, innovative design, and community engagement, the Town of Allendale will aim to restore the Allendale Community Center into a vibrant hub of hope, unity and opportunity. This collaborative project seeks to revitalize the center, making it a welcoming space that caters to the diverse needs of the community.
Town of Blackville – "Blackville Downtown Facelift"
The Town of Blackville will create the Façade Improvement Mini-Grant program, which will incentivize property owners to comprehensively enhance the facade of commercial and mixed-use buildings. The FIG program implementation is part of the Town of Blackville’s initiative to enhance the towns vitality by supporting revitalization efforts that will create jobs, reduce blight, and preserve and improve structures in our community.
Town of Carlisle – "Planning For Carlisle’s Future"
The Town of Carlisle will use grant funds to create a comprehensive plan, which will include a vision for recreational spaces, future housing and commercial developments, and amenities to accommodate industrial growth in the area.
Town of Clio – "Park and Playground Project"
In an effort to engage the young families and promote economic development in its historic downtown, Clio will develop its first-ever park and playground adjacent to its new municipal building and local post office. The park will feature traditional design elements and a specialized sensory area to cater to a diverse range of children's needs and interests.
City of Dillon – "Targeting the Highest Potential"
Building on the momentum from a previous HEDG award for a master plan, Dillon will use its funds to conduct a city-wide market analysis focused on targeted, informed recruitment and expansion of business opportunities. The project will collect market data paired with stakeholder input to target realistic market opportunities that will advance the city’s revitalization efforts.
City of Johnsonville – "Kayak Through History"
The City of Johnsonville intends to provide visitors and residents a new way to enjoy the cypress-lined banks of the Lynches River and Mill Creek by offering an experience of floating through the scenic wetlands that were once traveled by Revolutionary War Patriots engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Loyalists. The city will partner with Paddle SC, Visit Florence and Discover SC to increase public awareness and enjoyment of paddle recreation opportunities on waterways throughout South Carolina by purchasing an eight-bay, self-service kayak rental station.
Town of Lane – "Farmer’s Market"
Designated as a food desert, the Town of Lane will use grant funds to establish a weekly farmer's market and create an opportunity to teach canning and other methods of food storage to local residents.
Town of Lockhart – "Town Square Market Plan"
As the first step in implementing its Lockhart Tomorrow visioning plan, the town will use grant funds to guide the development of the town square market into the economic hub of Lockhart. The town square market pavilion will host pop-up markets and other events to encourage future business development in the town’s center that will serve tourists and residents alike.
City of Marion – "Bringing LIVES to Downtown Marion"
Seeking to fill an unmet need for downtown living space and bring residential living into its downtown, the City of Marion and the Historic Marion Revitalization Association will use grant funds to help convert an unused, upstairs commercial space into three apartment units.
City of Mauldin – "City Center Village Master Plan"
Mauldin will use its grant funds to craft a plan to transform the city’s underdeveloped, crossroads downtown into a true urban village. Through parcel acquisitions, public-private partnerships and now with development partners onboard, a new City Center Village Master Plan will build upon recent development efforts and provide a roadmap for the future of Mauldin.
City of Simpsonville – "South Main Street Archway" As a part of its Downtown Revitalization and Traffic Realignment Project, Simpsonville’s “Festival Street” will be set apart by an archway to delineate the space, letting visitors know that they have arrived in the heart of the Central Business District. The archway will feature a public engagement platform where visitors and residents can affirm their city as “Simply Home.”
Town of Winnsboro – "Downtown Economic Redevelopment Plan"
Poised to grow exponentially in the near future due to the construction of the Scout Motors Manufacturing campus nearby, the town must prepare for how to manage that growth. The town will use its grant funds to immediately create a plan to manage its future and best utilize state funding for the development of its downtown.