For the third year, the Municipal Association will offer Hometown Economic Development Grants to member cities and towns.
The Hometown Economic Development Grants were first awarded in 2016 in an effort to help cities and towns implement economic development projects designed to have positive effects on the quality of life in their communities. Starting with an initial investment of $200,000, the program has grown to $300,000 in 2018, which will allow for the distribution of up to 12 grants of $25,000 each.
Grant funds may be awarded to cities and towns across South Carolina for a variety of uses, including professional services, assets or programs.
Cities and towns that receive grants must provide matching funds or services. The amount of a recipient's match is determined by the city's size.
Cities and towns may also use grant funds to augment funding from other sources. Since the program's inception, the 18 cities and towns that were awarded have leveraged Hometown Economic Development Grants funds for a greater than 2 to 1 return.
Applications for the grants are accepted online. The application period will open on July 19. The deadline for entries this year is 5 p.m., September 28.
Applicants should ensure all of the questions on the application are completed. Incomplete applications are not accepted.
Applicants must plan ahead to make sure their council places Hometown Economic Development Grant resolutions on their meeting agendas for consideration before the application deadline. The resolution acknowledges the council's support of the conditions of the grant. A sample resolution of council can be found on the grant program's webpage.
Previous winners have used grant funds to create master plans for their downtown areas, support business incubators and build tourism-related facilities:
The City of Beaufort used its grant to support establishing the Beaufort Digital Corridor in partnership with the Charleston Digital Corridor. An incubator for digital technology startups, the Beaufort Digital Corridor will help diversify the economy in the Lowcountry.
Amid redevelopment pressures, working waterfronts and the commercial fishing industry in South Carolina are struggling to survive. The Town of McClellanville is using its grant to partner with several organizations to develop a master plan for securing the future of the town's working waterfront.
The Town of Estill is leveraging its grant funds to match a Community Development Block Grant that will help demolish 26 dilapidated houses and an abandoned manufacturing facility.
The Hometown Economic Development Grants are making a difference in all of the cities and towns that have received awards. With the addition of funds for 2018, even more municipal residents across South Carolina will benefit from the program.