New Dillon Downtown Coordinator Says Possibilities Are Endless For Main Street

By Betsy Finklea
“The possibilities are endless.” That’s how Lisa Moody, the City of Dillon’s new Downtown Coordinator describes Main Street in Dillon as she sits in her office in the old bank building beside the South Plaza, where she has held a number of successful events since arriving.

Moody, who recently moved back to the area, said she remembers Main Street in Dillon as a cool place where she could walk with her grandmother and shop.
Time, big box businesses, and neglected buildings have taken its toll on Main Street, but Moody is looking to change this.
Moody has lived throughout the United States in San Diego, Tucson, Flagstaff, Satellite Beach in Florida, and Hendersonville and has had the opportunity to experience many vibrant downtowns and hopes to draw from her experiences to create the kind of downtown where people can eat, walk, and shop and enjoy all that Dillon has to offer.
“I’m excited to come back and be a part of the rebuilding of Main Street,” said Moody.
While setting up a recent Hallowe’en event, Moody came across an elderly man and his grandson and started to chat. They had come from Charleston on the train from Dillon and were looking for something to do. The kinds of things they were looking to do are the things that Moody hopes to soon bring back to Main Street. “Give me two, five, ten years, and it will happen,” Moody said confidently.
Moody is hoping to create some excitement about Main Street, and she is committed to Dillon. She considers this to be her last job before she retires after spending the first quarter of her life in retail and sees this task as one of her biggest challenges. She would like to see a bakery, a specialty grocery store, and a men’s store as part of the new landscape of Main Street.
The City of Dillon is working through the S.C. Main Street Program and Main Street America Program, which are proven programs in revitalizing downtown areas.
Moody said Florence is the perfect example of how a downtown area can be revitalized. “It takes commitment and knowing what to do and how to do it,” Moody said.
The City of Dillon had a master plan for downtown done before Moody’s arrival, and she is meeting with a Downtown Development Committee composed of three council members, some Dillon Community Alliance members, and City Manager Glen Wagner studying the master plan and seeing what they can accomplish. They meet once a month.
Moody feels that the starting point is with stabilization such as getting buildings to a place where they can be rented or sold. The hope to use some American Rescue Plan money towards the revitalization of downtown. She said they need a firm approach and must make a plan and stick with it.
Special events are a huge draw to downtown, and Moody has had several—the Jack-o-Lantern Jubilee at Hallowe’en, the Christmas Tree Lighting with a movie, and Snowfall and Santa. Special events are a specialty of Moody’s, and she hopes to plan more events to help bring people downtown.
She is working hard on grant writing and seeing what is available, what fits, and then working on the applications.
More than anything, she needs community support and for the community to come out, attend the events, and show a strong support for downtown. She said last year many people may not realize that two new businesses opened in downtown Dillon and there were four remodels of buildings.
Plans are in the works to clean up some of the vegetation downtown, to change the traffic plan to get local businesses more views, and to increase pedestrian safety in the downtown area.
Moody is also hoping to connect business owners and the community through events like “Coffee and Talk,” which is held at 7:30 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month at the Downtown Development Office at 101 West Main Street, and a monthly “Chat and Chew.”
Moody is open to ideas and invites public involvement. Feel free to stop by her office to discuss downtown’s potential.