North Augusta organization looking to bring development program to downtown area

CSRA News

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) — If a local organization has its way, revitalization could soon be heading to downtown North Augusta.

“I feel like a lot of them have kind of come to a standstill as far as the efforts they are trying to put into bringing more attraction downtown,” business owner Gabby Peters told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk. “I feel like most of it is pretty much focused on the project down at the stadium,” she added.

Now, North Augusta Forward wants to capture some of that energy. 

“We feel like it’s time for downtown revitalization,” North Augusta Forward Executive Director Avery Spears-Mahoney said. “The city did a great job with SRP Park and the village down there. So we want to make sure that now we focus our attention on downtown and get a plan, a revitalization plan, together” she added.

On the job for about two months, she says her team wants to continue the City’s growth through downtown development by bringing in Main Street, South Carolina.

“They have been doing it in about 18 other communities in South Carolina,”  Spears-Mahoney added.

Main Street, South Carolina is part of a nationwide organization, Main Street America, looking for ways to enhance downtown areas for a number of communities. 

“They will come into the community, work with the Chamber, with the City, with the business owners, and the community at large,” Spears-Mahoney said.

Towns and cities participating in the program have populations ranging from 8,000 to 40,000. “Hopefully we’ll be selected for that program,” Spears-Mahoney added.

The city has a comprehensive plan that lays the foundation for downtown revitalization. “So some of the similar initiatives, we feel like, will come out of the community input for Main Street South Carolina,” she also said.

After speaking with business owners in the area, Spears-Mahoney says she knows what they want. 

“We surveyed some downtown businesses we also hosted two open house events here at North Augusta Forward to get to know the business owners and find out exactly what they are looking for,” she said. “They want communication, a plan, a well-intended plan that we can work through together as a community, to see that revitalization.  The Greeneway, they would love to see the Greeneway brought into downtown so we could really connect downtown to the River and SRP Park,” she added.

North Augusta Forward is fully funding the initiative.

“There’s a 3-year boot camp phase so those first three years are really intense with the resources and the team of experts who come in that we have access to,”  Spears-Mahoney said. “After that, we will continue to implement the program going forward but we’ll be maintaining what we have done and hopefully accomplish in those three years,” she added.

Many business owners like Gabby Peters are looking forward to it.

“Yes, I think we could make this like the hoppin’ place to be in North Augusta on a Friday night if people would really put some work into it,” Peters added.

North Augusta Forward will know if the City is selected in January 2019.
 

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