Grant Projects 2018

Since 1996, the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor has awarded over $15 million in grant funds to various tourism projects across South Carolina ranging from new museum displays to hiking trails. Here is the list of recent grants that will effect the tourism scene in South Carolina for years to come!

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The Carolina Barbados Connection
The SCNHC will partner with the Carolina Barbados Legacy Foundation, SCETV, and the Country of Barbados to plan and implement a campaign aimed at increasing the public awareness of the historic connection between South Carolina and Barbados. The plan includes a one-hour documentary along with an online and print piece of the history and current sites for visitation at both SC and on the island. A public relations and social media campaign will be implemented as a complement to the travel guide.  

Calhoun Falls
The SCNHC will partner with McCormick County, Abbeville County and the Town of Calhoun Falls to complete a 30-mile Rails to Trails project connecting McCormick County to Lake Russell and Calhoun State Park.  The trail follows the Savannah River National Scenic Byway and will allow for both hiking and biking.  

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Town of Edgefield
The SCNHC will partner with the Town of Edgefield and SCDNR to extend the trail around the 36 acre lake and construct a pier and fishing platform at the end of the trail.  

Stumphouse Mountain Multi-Use Trail System
In partnership with the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, we will provide partnership funds for trail construction and technical assistance for trail marketing, promotion and visitor services. This phase of the project will create 12.9 miles of trail. 

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Railroad Historical Center in Greenwood
The Railroad Historical Center Railcar Preservation Project in Greenwood, SC is nearing completion. Past grants helped complete asbestos and lead paint abatement, painting the interior and exterior of all train cars, complete structural work needed to stabilize the historic railcar collection, installation of HVAC and electrical components for lighting, refurbish seating and replace flooring and windows. With this grant round, the funds are used to complete the construction of a handicapped accessible platform that will provide seamless access to the now restored railcars.  

The Museum of the Cherokee
The Museum of the Cherokee in South Carolina would like to renovate and update (i.e., handicapped accessible) the second story of an adjacent 2-story, 2800 squarefoot building which will be called the Museum Annex. This Annex will have a pass through corridor from the current Museum to the new Annex so it is an easy access for visitors/tourists. 

Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site
This grant will assist in establishing an interpretive trail, street signs that layout the original streets that existed in the 1700s, historic fencing, pathway improvement, and an entrance to the town with a kiosk and map.

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Aiken State Park
The project will take place on the South Edisto river at the boat launch located inside Aiken State Park and encompass educational wayside, boat launch renovation, and pier improvements. . 

St. George Rosenwald School
The St. George Rosenwald School was erected in 1925-1926. When the Town purchased the property the building had been neglected over fifty years and was in an emergency state of deterioration. Efforts funded by this grant includes preservation of the building.

Saluda Theatre
The Town of Saluda will partner with the Saluda Historical Society and the Chamber of Commerce to repair and restore the Saluda Theater including bathrooms, fixtures, handrails, floor replacement, lighting, audio/video equipment, and a regular movie schedule.  

McLeod Plantation Historic Site
Charleston County Parks Recreation Commission opened McLeod to the public in 2015 and is currently in a stabilization phase for the outbuildings.

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Horns Creek Church in Edgefield
Horn’s Creek Baptist Church is believed to be the oldest structure in Edgefield County and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The current objective is to stabilize and preserve the church building by reconstructing the foundation, replacing the doors and windows, replacing the room, and making carpentry repairs where needed and painting the exterior and interior.  

Drayton Hall Visitor & Education Facilities
Drayton Hall has just begun an exciting and transformational project – enhancing the visitor experience through the construction of new visitor and educational facilities. These facilities will include a welcome area, museum shop and orientation hall, an education center, interpretive gardens, and gallery spaces.  

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Courthouse Pavilion in Dorchester County
After extensive public feedback, Dorchester County has incorporated an event pavilion into the Courthouse Park plan. The pavilion will create a venue for hosting cultural events celebrations found nowhere else in the surrounding area.  

Ashley River Historic District
These funds will be used to engage a consultant to study the abundant resources in the area and develop site design and architectural standards to promote more sensitive development, thereby protecting and promoting our numerous local resources.  

Murray Avenue in Anderson
Anderson's plans are for the development of an educational and recreational amenity below the Murray Avenue Bridge in historic Downtown Anderson. This project will create a sense of place and tell the story of Anderson’s history under the viaduct. Landscaping and lighting will enhance the visitor experience and make it a more pleasant, illuminated space to visit or pass through. 

The importance of branding

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” –Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

Branding can take a back seat to infrastructure improvements or everyday expenses for a town. If you’re on the fence about the importance of branding, here are our top 3 reasons that explain why it’s a vital and NOT optional part of growth and pride for any place.

1.       Branding is not just for tourists.

A successful brand creates a sense of place. For people who already live in your town, that sense of place increases community pride. Visitors and tourists notice that community pride right away, and it provides a memorable experience for them that will stand out among the rest.  

2.       Brands bring business.

Branding is truly a part of economic development. When a business owner contemplates opening a storefront in your town, quality of life is of utmost importance. Do you think they would choose a town that communicates what’s special there or a town that would make them do research and guess at why they should invest there? The branded town will win out every time.  

3.       Brands are alive.

The best brands allow communities to latch on to them and evolve. Were you once the “Peach Capital of the World”? Think a Peach festival, encourage local restaurants to offer peach inspired dishes, down to mugs with “Historically Peachy” on the front. The possibilities can be endless and fun for everyone.

If you are interested in how RevealSC can help your town with branding, contact us today!

Hospitality 101

In the south, we are known for our charm and hospitality. But does that really translate to your town? Have you ever looked at your town through the eyes of a visitor? Try asking the cashier at a local shop or gas station what there is to do around here. What they say and how they say it can affect a visitor’s whole experience. Here are our tips on making your town more hospitable from the inside out.

1. Improve the moment of truth.

A moment of truth in customer service is the first point of contact or interaction between a customer or visitor and gives them the first opportunity to form an impression. Get the moment of truth down, and you’ve got yourself a welcoming committee for the town. Oakridge, Oregon is a shining example of how to make this a reality. 

2. Strive for excellence.

This seems simple enough, but with the constant communication available through social media, you have to think out of the box and step up your game a bit. Just look at what Mortons did here...

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3. Handle complaints efficiently and gracefully.

Again, social media has forced how you deal with complaints to change dramatically. Responding as quick as possible to grievances on social media is vital. Also, no matter if the complaint comes through Twitter or a phone call, always offer a solution. Even weather complaints…yes those happen. “The event rained out, my sweet daughter Susie cried all day!”. Offer sweet Susie a complimentary ice cream ticket for the local parlor. When she’s there, capture the moment on your smart phone with #savedsusiesday or something equally as clever, and you have turned a negative into a positive for only $2.99.

4. Listen harder.

Some people would rather not complain to your face. While that sentiment is very nice, it’s important what people are saying behind your back as much as they do to your face. Utilize the search functions on all social media. Respond if you have a solution, but always take note of what they are saying and see how you can improve.

5. Play nice in the sandbox together.

As we like to say, it’s not about selling cheese it’s about providing an excellent sandwich! Whether you are a business, a town, or a destination marketing organization, encouraging cooperative marketing opportunities is paramount to being a hospitable community. Unless you have Disney Land in your town, it is the entire experience and not just you that are attracting visitors. This means reaching across Main Street, city lines, and county boundaries to think of partnership potential.

If you’re interested in how RevealSC can help you with custom hospitality training, contact us today!

Top Tips for Small Town Social Media

Throughout our travels across South Carolina, we have heard many small towns express frustration with social media. In many cases, adding social media management to the already full plates of town employees is a struggle. Here are our top tips to overcome those challenges and realize the full potential of using social media as a promotional tool for small towns.

1. Don’t go crazy with the text. In your description section, limit yourself to just a few sentences about the history of the town and what the vibe is like now. What is it like visiting there? What is it like living there?

2. Make sure you choose the setting where people can post on your page. This will keep you better informed about upcoming events and will give your Facebook audience and outlet to engage with you directly.

3. Photos! Lots and lots of photos! At least weekly or bi-weekly, take an hour or two to drive around or walk around your downtown. Take shots of your lunch plate, of the local shop owners, children playing on the square, a beautiful house, anything! This will give your page an authentic feeling that will appeal to locals AND potential visitors.  

4. The scheduling tool is your friend. Once you take your first photo trip, pre-schedule each one to last throughout the next few weeks, and add in any community events you know of. This will save you hours of time throughout the week.

5. Paid social media ads and boosted posts are a very inexpensive way (you can choose your own budget!) to reach your audience. We usually recommend promoting your page to people who already live in your county first, and then venture out from there. Do you have a lot of antique shops? You can target people who are interested in that specifically!

6. Last but not least, make sure you ‘like’ other town Facebook pages. You will then be able to get inspired about what others are doing right (and wrong).

If you’re still frustrated with using social media for your small town, contact us today to see if we would be a good fit for managing and planning it for you!