Cayce plans facelift for thoroughfare

tflach@thestate.comJanuary 4, 2014 

Corner Plaza

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— Cayce is ready to roll out a new welcome mat at its eastern entry.

City leaders want to add landscaped medians, bury power lines and install an eye-catching plaza on the edge of Guignard Park along with decorative traffic lights and highlighted crosswalks along part of Knox Abbott Boulevard, near the edge of the Congaree River.

The facelift is sure to make the area more attractive for shoppers, merchants and visitors, Mayor Elise Partin said.

It would extend from the Blossom Street bridge to State Street initially, with more blocks added later.

The main challenge will be finding money for what planners estimate is a $5.6 million project.

City officials hope some or all of it can be included in a package of improvements that would be financed by a penny-on-the-dollar countywide sales tax that voters will be asked to approve in November.

Federal and state beautification aid also will be sought.

City leaders looked at a local tax on dining out and take-out meals to help pay for the project but shelved the idea after opposition from residents and restaurateurs.

The plan for the facelift along three blocks “puts us in the seat to start moving forward,” Partin said.

She expects the new look for the main commercial thoroughfare in the community of 13,000 residents to debut in stages.

City leaders also may move City Hall to the area in a setting near the riverfront, a step that isn’t part of the plan. But it would be another plus for the area if a deal to do that could be reached, Partin said.

Some business leaders applaud the facelift as a shot in the arm for the city’s image.

It promises “to give the city a boost much needed,” said Gregg Pinner, executive director of the West Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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