By Betsy Finklea
The Dillon Downtown Revitalization Committee met recently at the City of Dillon Wellness Center.
They discussed an article about Lake City and some of their revitalization efforts. Mayor Todd Davis said if these things work there, they would work here.
They have a great deal downtown in a small area that is spinning off to side streets, etc. They have a fresh fish market, fruit stand, and butcher shop. City Manager Glen Wagner said they have some of these things in Dillon, but just not on Main Street. They have an active downtown merchants association.
There was a discussion about a hotel for Dillon. Davis said he, Wagner, and Code Enforcement Officer Benny Genwright met with the Raines Group, who was encouraging, but who they never heard back from again.
Davis said he had contacted Love’s, who is also in the hotel business. A representative is coming in about three weeks, and Davis is encouraged. He said that the lack of an upscale facility causes a great deal of leakage out of Dillon.
Wagner said one of the obstacles that they have faced in the past is people wanting too much for their property.
Committee member Steve Johnson said he had contacted two chain restaurants as an individual. He said he would like to see people put the price that they think their property is worth to start off with.
Davis said they have got to figure out how to market buildings downtown. He said the hopes someone will start an Association of Downtown Business.
It was noted that three had applied for the façade grants. The façade grants cover items from the face to the curb such as planters/plants, awnings, signage, decorative amenities, paint, lighting, flags, sandwich boards, shutters, and tables and chairs.
The new up fit grants will include things such as the roof, electrical/lighting, plumbing, flooring, doors/windows, cabinetry, hazardous material mitigation, paint, restoration of significant features, and repair or replace deteriorated materials.
Davis said one of the things they are going to do to promote Main Street is to kick of Christmas and make Main Street a focus of the holiday.
Committee Member Stephanie Mitchell said they need to get people to own their Main Street. She suggested letting groups decorate trees.
Johnson said that every business owner needs a copy of the maintenance and appearance ordinance. There was further discussion.
Mitchell briefly discussed conducting a survey of business owners.
Possible grants and donors were discussed.
A guest speaker from Lumberton is expected to be at the next meeting.
By Betsy Finklea