Impressed by the area's rich history and the many actions taken in recent years to improve quality of life, Boozer and his team came to Chesterfield in January and showed how to make a good town great.
After three days of both public and targeted meetings, the Clemson team put forth a proposal to help the town take advantage of opportunities, position itself in the regional market and make better use of its assets.
Describing the charrette (plan) as everybody's responsibility, Boozer reminded the group that the team took input from the town and organized that information for the town's use. “It is up to you,” he said.
A committee of Chesterfield citizens has been meeting since the charrette was presented in January with the express purpose of implementing the plan.
“The idea,” said committee member Sammie Copeland, “is orderly growth and tax base to enhance the quality of life for our citizens and future citizens.”
An essential part of the town's ability to receive grants through the Department of Commerce, the charrette brought ideas large and small to the town at a special presentation in February.
With a current estimated population of 6,605 people in the 29709 zip code, Chesterfield's median income is $38,029. The Chesterfield County median is $32,289 while South Carolina's is $39,837.
Stores in that zip code had sales equaling $28.9 million in 2005, while consumers in the same zip code spent $55.5 million in retail stores. With a leakage of $26.6 million in retail, mainly full service restaurants, pharmacies, clothing and furniture, the team pointed out that department stores and superstores take away $7 million in business.
The plan suggested specialty shops and other alternatives to bring retail into town. Combining small businesses, like a bookstore and an antique shop, were among suggestions offered. Other ideas included a full line of shops to be added to Bittle Street after the completion of the streetscape project, for which grant funds have already been secured through the S.C. Department of Transportation. (SCDOT).
Marketing and branding the town along with more enticing gateways and signage are first on the agenda. The old county courthouse may become a centerpiece for the new Chesterfield logo as an icon for stationery and signage.
For more information about this story, please read the May 25, 2006 edition of the Cheraw Chronicle/Chesterfield Advertiser.