LEXINGTON, SC — Wes Rhoten is preparing to renovate the front of his store in Lexington with a boost from Town Hall.
The $5,000 awarded for what town leaders call facade improvement is “an incentive to get started,” he said.
Rhoten plans to add brick, soffit and gutters at the Main Street store his family has operated since 1945.
“That will dress up the building quite a bit,” he said.
The facelift will cost him up to $25,000, a new look that Rhoten hopes attracts more customers to stop by to check out the gifts, art and sausage he sells.
It’s one of five awards of $5,000 apiece to assist retailers with renovations as part of Town Hall’s latest effort to revitalize the community’s struggling downtown.
Others receiving aid include the Old Mill, Main Street Cafe, Mae’s apparel and a new restaurant planned.
Each winner — chosen by a four-member panel that includes a pair of architects — will use the aid for features such as awnings, windows, paint, lights, doors and brick repair.
Those upgrades will help give the area “a jolt” intended to spur merchants to create an environment appealing to shoppers, Mayor Randy Halfacre said.
Interest among merchants in the aid was strong enough — 24 of 110 eligible applied — that Halfacre wants to double the amount in the total pool to $50,000 next year.
Town Hall also will add planters with flowers and greenery on sidewalks in the area.
The taxpayer-supported aid is for exterior upgrades only, payable upon completion of work by spring.
It’s similar to what other communities, including Columbia, do to freshen aging commercial hubs.
For now, the aid is limited to the one-mile stretch of Main Street downtown.
“This is a partnership to help the area,” Halfacre said. “We’re helping lay the groundwork for its future.”
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.