DDRA awards improvement grant

In attendance at the check presentation were (left to right) Palmetto Office Furniture’s Charles Hester, DDRA board member Curtis Boyd, Palmetto Office Furniture co-owner Tommy Ewart, Thomas Ewart III, DDRA executive director Lisa Rock, Palmetto Office Furniture co-owner Frances Ewart, Darlington Mayor and DDRA board member Gloria Hines and DDRA board member Bobby Kilgo.

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

Darlington Downtown Revitalization Association (DDRA) presented Palmetto Office Furniture with $1,000 in grant funds Nov. 16, wrapping up another successful year for DDRA’s Improvement Incentive Program.

Tommy Ewart, who co-owns the business with wife Frances, said the DDRA grant money might not seem like a lot, but it makes a difference when you’re upgrading a property in affordable increments. Palmetto Office Furniture is located in a converted cotton warehouse built in 1904, and their most recent improvements included shoring up the building’s support structure and adding a new awning.

“We’re going step by step very methodically to help preserve the building so it’ll be around for years to come,” said Ewart. “That money goes a long way when you’re trying to reinvigorate something like this building, which has historical significance for Darlington.”

DDRA executive director Lisa Rock said this marked the final business improvement grant for the 2018 cycle, but another $5,000 funding pool will be available in 2019.

“We’ve given out $5,000 in 2018 and $7,000 since the program started. In connection with all of the projects that have been done, there’s been more than $170,000 of investment in the city, based on what (businesses) say their projects were,” said Rock

“($1,000) isn’t a lot of money, but it’s what we can afford to do, and we want to help folks make downtown and their businesses look better.”

Businesses can apply for up to $1,000 (in a 50/50 matching split) to help defray the cost of new signage, awnings, exterior paint, new doors and similar improvements.

Applications are available on DDRA’s website, buildupdarlington.org.

Author: Rachel Howell

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