Bethune working to revitalize downtown

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Mayor Susan Holley and town council are working with the Municipal Association of South Carolina to help bring the town back to life.

BETHUNE, S.C. — Main Street in Bethune may have only a few businesses now, but town officials say they are working to change that.

Mayor Susan Holley and town council are working with the Municipal Association of South Carolina to help bring the town back to life.

“There is a movement back to the downtown,” said Charlie Barrineau, Field Association Manager with Municipal Association of South Carolina. “You can look at neighboring communities like Camden and Florence, and they are doing well.” 

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Barrineau explained the steps that will be taken to help bring the area back.

“You start off looking at 5-square miles, maybe a 10-mile radius, around the town to see sales … whether it’s furniture stores, restaurants, and we see how much volume that area can support.”

Next, he said the will “create a target list of projects the town can focus on – beautification, flowers, looking for a specific anchor building a historic area in the downtown.” 

Barrineau says the town will have to apply for grants to help the town move forward. 

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“We have a hometown economic grant,” Barrineau said. “It was my recommendation that the council applies for that $25,000 grant to fund this assessment and master plan for their downtown area.”

Sheila Mare, owner of Family Hair Center in Bethune, is hoping to see empty shops soon filled with people and business. 

“If we get a lot more business, it will mean more for us,” Mare said. “Maybe more people can work, and I think we need to do a lot to the town, and I think it’s run down.” 

Barrineau said the process will not happen overnight but will take months. 

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