County receives grant to revitalize Zion Hill

This dilapidated home on West College Street is one of the eyesores county and town officials are aiming to clean up in the Zion Hill neighborhood with CDBG grant funding. | Barbara Ball

WINNSBORO – The county and town finally have a foothold to begin revitalization of the Zion Hill and Fortune Springs Park neighborhoods. Last week the county was awarded a $487,568 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to begin the first phase of a long term revitalization operation for the area.

The grant was awarded through the S.C. Department of Commerce and requires the county to chip in 10 percent of the grant ($48,900) to bring the total funds to $536,468.

The grant work will include the demolition and clearance of approximately 40 dilapidated and vacant structures, according to Gregory Sprouse, Director of Research, Planning and Development for Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG).

Sprouse, Chris Clauson, Fairfield Community Development Director and CMCOG planner John Newman spent the better part of the summer analyzing the needs of the Zion Hill and Fortune Springs Park neighborhoods. They walked the neighborhood visiting with residents and finding out what can be done to help bring the neighborhood back to its glory days. The planners are also tasked with estimating the cost of the project.

While they found the needs to be many, Sprouse said the initial focus will be on the demolition and cleanup of the 40 structures.

Sprouse said he hopes the county can get the project underway by the spring.

“But first, we have a lot of paper work and have to meet the federal environmental clearance process,” Sprouse said. “That takes some time. When the actual work begins, we’ll also be adding some street lighting as well as some traffic calming signage and public safety improvement to the neighborhood park in the study area.”

The project is a corporative effort between the county and town with input from the Zion Hill/Fortune Springs community. Sprouse said both the county and the town will be applying for further CDBG grants and other grants as the work continues. The grant work must be completed in two years.