Williamston awarded two economic development grants totaling $35,000

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Envision Williamston and the Town of Williamston have been selected as the recipient of two grant awards for the Town’s newly developed Economic Development initiatives being implemented through the Envision Williamston program.

In the spring 2016, the Town adopted the Envision Williamston Community Master Plan. Within it, there are several streetscaping and economic development initiatives highlighted to help bring out a much needed facelift to the Town and advance its economic vitality. Since then, Envision Williamston has pulled together a strategic team of professionals and concerned citizens to work on the design and implementation of some key project recommendations.

One is aptly named “Best Look, Best Talent Project,” a multi-pronged approach geared toward improving the Town’s assets through community placemaking.

As a direct result of these planning efforts, the Town was selected as one of eight towns in the state to receive a $25,000 Hometown Economic Development Grant that is being awarded by the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

The Palmetto Business Association and the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor are providing the necessary matching grant funds for the project.

The project is comprised of two phases. Phase 1 will include a Façade Improvement Grant Program that will incentivize local merchants to begin the process of creating an attractive array of storefronts in the downtown historic corridor.

In Phase 2, researchers and architectural designers will conduct The Mustang Alley Feasibility Study to complement the façade program. The Feasibility Study will explore possible creation of an event-oriented alleyway or pocket park. The study is designed to formulate the design options; assess their feasibility; and determine the potential return of investment.

The second award is for the separately funded “Main Street Challenge Grant Award Program.” This economic development project will incentivize new businesses to utilize some of the vacant storefronts in town.

Innovate Anderson, a public/private economic development organization, has awarded $10,000 to match the Town’s initial investment on a 1:1 basis.

“Both the Main Street Challenge and the Best Look, Best Talent Project are timely and essential to the Town’s future,” said Sonya Crandall, Executive Director for Envision Williamston. “Together, they will generate a quick visual improvement, foster economic vitality, and provide valuable information for future decision making.”

“Each project builds upon the other and will be guided by local leaders. However, these projects would not be possible without the generous support from our community and state partners,” Crandall said.

For further information, please contact Sonya Crandall at 864-650-7075 or sonyacew@gmail.com, or go to www.envisionwilliamston.com.