Project Background

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.

Project Updates

July 2018

The Harstville Planning Commission presented an updated strategic plan, Vision 2030, to residents in June. The plan focuses on the areas population growth in the next decade.  Read more.

April 2017

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.

April 2016
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.

News Coverage of the Hartsville Project

WMBF News: Hartsville approves demolition of old apartment complex

SC Now: Hartsville seeks $2.25 million grant to tackle drainage problems

Hartsville Messenger.com: South Hartsville Revitalization Association kicks off neighborhood survey

Hartsville Messenger.com: South Hartsville residents urged to get involved

Palmetto Planner: An Inside Perspective: The APA CPAT Experience in Hartsville, South Carolina

A Moment with the Manager – South Hartsville's Community Planning Assistance Team

Harstville Messenger.com: "Residents gather to talk South Hartsville revitalization"

Harstville Messenger.com: "Plan in the works will target South Hartsville improvements"

Harstville Messenger.com: "Project to target South Hartsville"

Meet the Team


Marijoan "MJ" Bull, AICP
Team Leader

Marijoan "MJ" Bull, PhD, AICP

Marijoan Bull has over 25 years of planning experience at the local and regional level in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. During her career she has designed and implemented planning processes, overseen regulatory reviews, managed improvement projects, and completed research on interdisciplinary participation techniques. Broadly trained as a land use planner with a BS and MCP from MIT, Bull now trains future planners in a Bachelor of Regional Planning program at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. Her PhD from Salve Regina University focused on the use of the humanities in placemaking. Her primary interests include inclusive participation in land use planning, just sustainability, and housing as a human right.

Kimberly Burton, AICP
Team Member

Kimberly Burton, AICP CTP, PE, LEED AP ND

Kimberly Burton is an experienced program and project manager, as well as a professional engineer, certified planner, and LEED Accredited Professional in Neighborhood Development. She has 15 years of experience working in the public and private sectors and is the president of Burton Planning Services in Westerville, Ohio. She teaches energy, sustainability and resiliency planning in city & regional planning as an assistant professor of practice at Ohio State University. She has worked on a wide variety of planning, engineering, and environmental projects. Her skills include city and transportation planning, community and economic development, grants, environmental documents, noise and air quality analyses, safety studies, and public involvement activities.

Karen Campblin, AICP
Team Member

Karen Campblin, AICP

Karen Campblin has more than 13 years of experience in the planning industry as a community development planner and project manager. She is the founder of ktcPLAN, LLC and has experience in corridor studies, environmental justice, transit development, and scenic highway studies and has been responsible for the design and implementation of a wide range of public involvement and community coordination programs in support of these transportation studies. Through an understanding of planning techniques, NEPA, and regulatory requirements and diverse experience, Campblin is able to solve challenges by working with the community and agencies to design viable ideas and create cost-effective solutions for sustainable transportation, policy,and community development initiatives.

Alina Gross
Team Member

Alina Gross, PhD

Alina Gross completed her PhD in regional planning at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2014.  Her research addresses community engagement in the urban and regional planning process, with an emphasis on social justice and the experience of historically marginalized social groups. Gross has planned and facilitated public  participation in a variety of local contexts and also has professional planning experience in environmental planning, neighborhood planning, open space and recreation, and economic development. She has taught courses at Westfield State University's Department of Geography and Regional Planning, and has particularly valued developing new pedagogy for helping students understand the social and cultural dimensions of planning issues, in principle and in practice.

Bridget Wiles
Team Member

Bridget Wiles

Bridget Wiles is chief operations officer/TA director at APD Urban Planning and Management, LLC. She holds a master's degree in social administration from Case Western Reserve University with a specialization in community development, and has over 18 years of social work and community development expertise. Wiles has experience in management and implementation of CPD programs, budget preparation, and program monitoring and auditing. She also serves as a community facilitator during visioning planning sessions and provides stakeholder analysis for strategy implementation. As TA director for APD's Technical Assistance Program, Wiles has delivered technical assistance and capacity building services to several HUD grantees throughout the country.