South Hartsville, South Carolina
Hartsville, South Carolina, a community of 8,000 residents, has experienced the same economic ups and downs as other small communities. While downtown is presently prospering with several major construction projects, other parts of the community lag behind. South Hartsville, a predominately African American neighborhood, is one area suffering after years of change and disinvestment. Absentee landlords, the migration of the middle-class, and an aging population on fixed incomes, have all contributed to a decline in housing quality. A once thriving community with beauty and barbershops, daycare, and a neighborhood grocery store, today few viable businesses remain.
In recent years, community members and city officials have come together to revitalize the area through local funding resources and grants. Years of neglect have been addressed with new infrastructure, including water mains, hydrants, and upgraded recreational facilities. In 2001, the city began dedicating a portion of its budget to razing abandoned homes and buildings which detract from the area and pose a safety hazard.
In 2008, the city received a grant from the Byerly Foundation to collaborate with Clemson University to develop a plan for the mixed-use Sixth Street Corridor. This effort focused on the establishment of the Butler Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit formed to preserve the history and campus of the Butler High School — the segregated black high school closed in 1982. The facilities and programming of the Butler Foundation can serve as an anchor for turning the neighborhood around.
Currently housing Head Start and the Boys and Girls Club, the campus includes a renovated auditorium/meeting space used by several community groups. Future plans include opening a museum and working with the area residents to identify other needs.
The City of Hartsville requested a CPAT to develop a place-based neighborhood revitalization strategy for South Hartsville, with residents acting as visionaries. The effort helped lay the groundwork for deepening community involvement in all future planning processes and identified the assets of the area to be nurtured, as well as the challenges to overcome. Ultimately, this effort aimed to support the strong tradition of South Hartsville being a great place to live, work, play, grow, and connect.
South Hartsville Heritage Alive: A Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy
Community Planning Assistance Team Report
Working closely with these residents, improvement associations, planning staff, and municipal leadership, the CPAT has developed a Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy. The plan is designed to provide background information and data, analysis and assessment of conditions, and recommendations for moving forward based on what we heard from residents and other stakeholders.
The City of Hartsville is moving forward with plans to demolish the eight vacant apartment buildings known as Lincoln Village. Initially the property will be "green space" while the city discusses the future of the property. Read more.
The South Hartsville community has been making great strides to implement recommendations from the final report. In the past year the community has:
- Implementation Committee created and meets monthly
- Installation of lighting at key locations
- In October 2015, adopted NRS as part of City’s Comprehensive Plan
- Planning Department launched monthly newsletter
- Funding secured for demolition of large, abandoned, unsafe apartment complex
- Preliminary restoration of “Colored Cemetery”
- Residents conducted Housing Conditions Survey
- Implementation Committee partnered with Habitat for Humanity on Repair Program
- City preparing to contract with an outside firm for a Residential Market Analysis
- City working with Duke Energy to update streetlights on main corridor
- City launched Business-Builder program with low interest loans for low/mod entrepreneurs
- Two community police officers were dedicated specifically to South Hartsville
2016 National Planning Conference
The South Hartsville CPAT presented at the session titled Equity Planning: Exploring Insider/ Outsider Dynamics at the 2016 National Conference in Phoenix.
September 12, 2014
The final day of the trip provided the team with a few moments to reflect on the lessons learned, insight gained, and how the community's vision will become the final report to be delivered to the City of Hartsville in the following months. Lasting relationships were made as the team shared laughs and frustrations with the South Hartsville community members who are the visionaries that will return South Hartsville to a great place to live, work, play, grow, and connect.
September 11, 2014
On the second to last day of the trip, the team focused on creating the final presentation, "A Framework for Neighborhood Revitalization in South Hartsville." The presentation was delivered to the South Hartsville community at the Butler Community Center on Thursday evening followed by a lively discussion with attendees.
September 10, 2014
After two fruitful days of meetings with Hartsville leaders and outreach events with the community, the team got a chance to meet with some of the teens at the South Hartsville Boys and Girls Club. The meeting was full of energy and excitement as the kids shared drawings of their neighborhood and photos from the Walk and Talk tour. They jumped at the opportunity to provide their perspective of South Hartsville — what they like, what needs to be improved, and how it can be accomplished.
September 9, 2014
The CPAT team began the second day of the site visit by meeting with community leaders to learn more about South Hartsville's past and future. The leaders were from Hartsville Habitat for Humanity, Byerly Foundation, and Greater Hartsville Ministerial Alliance, and department heads from the City of Hartsville.
In the afternoon, the team hit the pavement on a Walk and Talk tour with South Hartsville residents followed by a productive Voice your View discussion at the Butler Community Center focusing on mobility, housing, services, participation, and workforce development. The lessons learned while on the walk and from the discussion will help strengthen the presentation to community members and the team's final report to the city.
September 8, 2014
The team kicked off the week by meeting with the Hartsville Planning Department at City Hall, followed by a tour of South Hartsville. The afternoon was packed with back-to-back meetings with Sen. Gerald Malloy (D, District 29), the board of the Butler Heritage Foundation, Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington, and City Council Members Adlena Graham, Bernice Wilson, and Teresa Mack. The team then met with representatives from the Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville.
June 19-20, 2014
On June 19 and 20, Team Leader Marijoan "MJ" Bull, AICP, and APA staff member Eric Roach visited South Hartsville for the initial site visit. The team worked closely with City of Hartsville staff members Brenda Kelley, Senior Planner, and Heather Garrison, Planner I.
On the first day of the visit, the team toured neighborhoods in the Hartsville area to gain perspective on the range of housing options and income levels present in the community. On the second day, the group met with a variety of community stakeholders and children from the local Boys and Girls Club. Stakeholders included Dorothy Hines; Clayton Richardson, Community Activist; Teresa Mack, City of Hartsville District 3 Council Member; and Dr. Alvin Heatley, Chairman of the Butler Heritage Foundation.
January 16, 2015
At the request of the City of Hartsville, CPAT members MJ Bull, Karen Campblin and Alina Gross returned to Hartsville to deliver a presentation on the final report at the Butler Heritage Auditorium. South Hartsville community leaders, residents and City officials, including City Council members, were in attendance. After the team delivered the presentation that highlighted short-term and long-term action items from the report, the community members engaged in a lively discussion on what steps to take to begin implementation.
The first successful outcome from the final presentation was a group of residents volunteering to form a new neighborhood committee to oversee the implementation of the report and begin collaborating with City officials to once again make South Hartsville a great place to live, work, play, grow, and connect.