Letter to the Editor – Edgefield Square Improvements

Letter to the Editor – Edgefield Square Improvements

In recent years the Town of Edgefield and the Edgefield Community Development Association have taken on new approaches to increase business and visitor activity in Edgefield.  They have worked together to create re-enactments, festivals and events to bring new life to the downtown area.   However, that hasn’t been enough to bring the growth necessary to reverse the trends of the twentieth century.

After reviewing other successful downtowns in South Carolina, they all had one common factor.   They all included some form of widening sidewalks, improving pedestrian safety, adding seating areas and tables, landscaping, and more parking.   These features helped bring new businesses and visitors to their towns.  To help achieve this success, the Town of Edgefield received a 90% State Department of Commerce funded grant with the local 10% paid from overnight stays and restaurant fees.  The grant will reconfigure two sides of the square for one-way traffic and close the alleyways off of Main Street to vehicular traffic. These changes improve the downtown to feel more like a Village by:

  • Widening sidewalks in front of businesses by an average 10 feet
  • Create 4 to 7 more parking around the square –

Eastside (Park Row) current 13 spaces/ proposed 13 -14

Southside (Advertiser) current 17/ proposed 20-22

Northside (Library) current 12/ proposed 13

  • Add 12 to 15 spaces at new parking lot at the corner of Simkins and Buncombe
  • All spaces on the east and south sides of square are angle spaces for ease of parking
  • Allows enough space so vehicles will not have to back into active traffic lanes
  • Adds new trees and shrubs
  • Provides gathering places for residents to enjoy while shopping, doing business or visiting
  • Creates two sets of vine covered arbors
  • Adds glider and regular benches
  • Provide decorative brick pavers, sidewalks and crosswalks
  • Adds electric outlets and drinking fountains throughout downtown
  • Will now meet Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements
  • Provides storm drainage improvements
  • Adds a nice seating area outside the library with electric outlets
  • Improves the alleyways inviting pedestrians to stroll to the pottery
  • Parking and vehicle access will still be provided to this area off of Simpkins
  • Future improvements include WIFI throughout the downtown

In conclusion, the public spaces and widened sidewalks will provide the incentive for pedestrians to stroll, linger and window shop.  Like in other successful downtowns, we believe these improvements will enhance existing businesses and create opportunities for new retail to locate in downtown Edgefield.

Tim Worth, Chairman

Town Square Improvement Committee