Richland County is taking steps to improve aesthetics for the Broad River Road Corridor.
Enhancements outside The Sunshine House, a child care and early education facility on Broad River Road, were recently completed as part of a grant program from the County, and more projects are forthcoming.
The County’s Neighborhood Improvement Program developed the Commercial Facade Improvement Grant for the Broad River Road Corridor. The grant provides up to $16,000 per commercial building to finance exterior improvements to structures, such as storefronts and signage.
Eleven businesses, including The Sunshine House, were selected for the first round of the grant program. The program aims to retain and attract businesses, strengthen the commercial corridor, increase the usage of existing businesses, restore economic vitality and enhance property values.
"The funds from this grant allows these businesses to make the specific enhancements they need to bring in new customers and keep their business moving forward while also beautifying the Broad River Corridor as a whole,” said District 2 Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson.
Grant funding for The Sunshine House went toward installing new signage, as well as a wood privacy fence and sealing and striping the parking lot.
“We're very happy with that work, and we think it'll help improve the Broad River Corridor," said Erin Brooks, a neighborhood planner with Richland County Community Planning & Development.
Some of the other 10 businesses awarded grant funding have already seen minor improvements made, and progress will continue at those businesses in the coming weeks. All improvements are expected to be complete by the end of October.
Projects eligible for funding under the grant include exterior signs and painting, parking lot resurfacing and repaving, outdoor lighting upgrades or installation, security feature upgrades or installation, and general facade work, such as landscaping and exterior building maintenance.
The first round of the grant cycle was open to businesses fronting Broad River Road from the I-20 interchange to St. Andrews Road, an area included in the Community Master Plan that County Council adopted in 2010.
The goal is to open the grant up each year as funding allows, moving along the Broad River Road Corridor and throughout other areas of the County.