Downtown Camden Alley to be Transformed with Support of AARP Grant

The alley at 1026-A Broad Street in Downtown Camden will soon be transformed into a vibrant “throughway” for shoppers and diners to enjoy.

With the support of a matching grant from AARP’s Livable Communities program, the City’s Downtown Camden program is spearheading a treatment of the alley that connects Broad Street to the Town Green. The treatment will include benches with planters and shade sails, providing a space for people to gather and relax. String lighting will be installed in the alley as well, complementing the existing lighting, to create an inviting space in the evenings as well as daylight hours.

“This project will turn an empty alley, used to get from Point A to Point B, into a space for residents and visitors of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy while shopping and dining downtown,” said Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford.

The Downtown Camden project was one of only two in the State of South Carolina and 88 nationwide funded by this new Community Challenge grant initiative. According to AARP, nearly 1,200 applications were submitted in July. The requirements of the grant were that projects create a more livable community, and do it quickly. All Community Challenge grant projects must be completed by November 1, 2017. 

“Great communities require careful planning and time, but these quick action projects can give community leaders the motivation and momentum to create greater change.” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President of Community, State and National Affairs in a national press release announcing all the grant awards in September.

The City’s contribution to the project will be the creation of a gateway, installed near the Town Green entrance, which will mimic the existing visual theme of the alley and invite people to explore what’s inside the throughway.

“The project will also provide a space to meet the Main Street South Carolina recommendation of increased public art,” said Downtown Camden program manager Katharine Spadacenta. “And for that, we’re looking for the community’s help in creating art that can be hung from the string lighting within the alley.”

This community art project is scheduled to take place on the Town Green from 3:00 - 7:00 pm on Wednesday, October 18th. Also on that day, a film crew from AARP will be on hand to document the project.

“AARP is investing nearly $780,000 to support these projects across the country, and they are excited to document the success of the projects as they develop,” Spadacenta said. 

Keep up to date with the project on Downtown Camden's Facebook page. For more information on participating in the art project, call the Downtown Camden office at 803-425-6631.