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City improvements: An update from Clemson’s mayor

Katie Bradham, Photo Editor

The Shepherd Hotel is near completion of construction and is to be opened this coming fall of 2022.

City of Clemson Mayor Robert Halfacre provided an update on the city’s plans to improve downtown Clemson in the upcoming year, addresing concerns related to growth during an April Student Senate meeting.
“For the year of 2022, we have various projects that we are working on to better the Clemson city and University community,” said Halfacre. “Let’s work together to attract and promote hallmark events that benefit those on and off campus, including concerts, conferences and athletic competitions all year long.”
The city will be working on a number of outdoor projects, specifically to improve parks and facilities throughout the Clemson area.
Renovations will begin at Abernathy Park this year following an objective to make downtown Clemson a destination for families to visit, according to Halfacre.
“The downtown area and Abernathy Park have the potential to become a vibrant downtown destination that will further enhance our reputation of being a beautiful lakefront community,” said Halfacre.
“Another improvement we would like to work on this year is the Green Crescent Trail, which will be done in phases,” said Halfacre. Phase one has already seen an investment of $2.2 million and the completion of three miles of the trail.
“We are now in the process of applying for a SCDOT RAISE Grant to design 16 miles of trail and construct two additional miles. If given the grant, we will have $1.28 million with a $320,000 match, which will give us future funding opportunities.”
There has also been an addition to the police department complex going into this year, which will provide space for the growing staff.
“The original department was built for 15 officers, and we now have 35 officers when fully staffed,” said Halfacre. “This project doubled the square footage of the facility and included new technology and meeting space.”
$775,000 has been allotted to revitalize the substation in downtown Clemson, which will include an event set-up space and public restrooms.
Senator Lizzie Chiarovano raised her concerns to Halfacre regarding the 3.7% enrollment growth that the University is facing going forward. This has led to many problems in the Clemson community, including congested downtown parking and a lack of housing, according to Chiarovano.
“In March 2020, in response to concerns about rapid growth and change in Clemson, the City began the strategic planning process — ClemsonNEXT—which blended analysis, identification of best practices, and community dialogue through roundtable interviews, surveys, a Virtual Town Hall, and social media outreach,” said Halfacre. “Community input is critical to having any successful project. Serving and responding to the public is the cornerstone of what we do and is essential to implementing the next steps to address public needs and concerns.”
Another project planned for the upcoming school year is based on improvements for uptown Clemson to build more off-campus housing.
“The vision for uptown [Clemson] is to create a vibrant centerpiece for the City of Clemson. One that reinforces a main street, storefront environment along College Avenue, enhances lake access and views, provides meaningful public space and civic anchors, and a mix of student and non-student housing,” said Halfacre.
With these city improvements, the mayor hopes to continue working with the University to make the special parks and public places more connected, more inviting and more accessible to all.

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