Béthune is working to revitalize the city center

Mayor Susan Holley and the City Council are working with the South Carolina Municipal Association to help bring the city back to life.

BETHUNE, SC – Main Street in Bethune may only have a few businesses left, but city officials say they are working to change that.

Mayor Susan Holley and City Council are working with the South Carolina Municipal Association to help bring the city back to life.

“There’s a movement back to downtown,” said Charlie Barrineau, field association director for the South Carolina Municipal Association. “You can look at nearby communities like Camden and Florence, and they’re doing well.”

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Barrineau explained the steps that will be taken to help bring the region back.

“You start by looking at 5 square miles, maybe a 10 mile radius, around town to see the sales…whether it’s furniture stores, restaurants, and we see the volume that area can support.”

Next, he said the will “will create a target list of projects the city can focus on – beautification, flowers, finding a specific anchor point for building a downtown historic district.”

Barrineau says the city will have to apply for grants to help the city move forward.

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“We have a hometown economic grant,” Barrineau said. “I recommended that the council apply for this $25,000 grant to fund this assessment and master plan for their downtown.”

Sheila Mare, owner of the Family Hair Center in Bethune, hopes to see empty stores filled with people and businesses soon.

“If we get a lot more business, it will mean more to us,” Mare said. “Maybe more people can work, and I think we need to do a lot for the town, and I think it’s run down.”

Barrineau said the process will not happen overnight but will take months.

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