Team Sumter Receives National Award for “Beating Blight” Project

Sumter, SC – Team Sumter, consisting of the City of Sumter, Sumter County and the Santee-Lynches Council of Governments, has received a 2018 Aliceann Wohlbruck Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) for the project “Beating Blight: Sumter and Camden’s Neighborhood Initiative Program”.

In the Santee-Lynches region, residential blight and dilapidated housing are a constant challenge, particularly in areas of the community that have experienced less economic opportunity than others. The Neighborhood Initiative Program was funded through the South Carolina State Housing and Finance Authority as a tool to address these challenges by purchasing property from current owners at fair market rates, demolishing the blighted structures, greening the lots, and exploring future opportunities for re-use of the land to serve the community’s needs.

Santee-Lynches Council of Governments and its affiliate Regional Development Corporation coordinated efforts by both the City of Sumter and City of Camden, in partnership with Kershaw County, to acquire and demolish structures on 137 parcels ranging from 0.09 acres up to 1.0 acres in target areas across the two urban areas. Further, during implementation of the program in both cities, a number of additional benefits were realized, including payments of delinquent tax debt as a result of the property transactions, opportunities for local fire departments to conduct valuable live training on the structures to maintain ISO ratings, and the removal of some residential structures from conflict with local zoning standards and floodplain areas.

Award-winning projects were honored during NADO’s 2018 Annual Training Conference, held in Charlotte, NC. The 2018 class of award recipients consisted of 90 projects spanning 24 states.