Celebrate Community Improvement TODAY at 5 PM

06 Jun Celebrate Community Improvement TODAY at 5 PM

Ribbon-cutting Tuesday for Duke Street improvements in downtown Beaufort

Beaufort city leaders are celebrating a successful grass roots partnership that brightened and improved a section of downtown’s Duke Street.

The ribbon cutting Tuesday, June 6, at 1205 Duke Street is in recognition of the hundreds of volunteer hours that helped make the project possible. The celebration is from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served and the community is invited.

Part of the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission’s “Street by Street” initiative, the Duke Street demonstration site work began in Summer 2016 through a partnership with Beaufort Housing Authority, City of Beaufort, Clemson Extension and Lowcountry Master Gardeners.

The project involved painting the three public housing duplexes, one of which houses the City of Beaufort Police Substation, with fresh colors; landscaping the homes with native plants; creating a pocket park on what was previously a bare section of land that had once been a parking lot; and creating two colorful murals.

“This is an exceptional example of what can happen when we join hands,” Beaufort City Manager Bill Prokop said. “Now we have a visible and viable showcase of the ‘Street by Street’ project and we look forward to expanding it to other key areas.”

Hundreds of volunteer hours were invested in transforming this Duke Street site, engaging residents, neighbors, master gardeners, Cub Scouts, city staff and elected officials in the process. Materials and services were donated by local businesses, organizations and residents.

Planning and design for the project began in May 2016, and hands-on work began in late August 2016.

The Street-by-Street Infill Initiative, focused on part of Duke Street from July 1, 2021 - December 31, 2017, includes incentives for property owners to improve properties and build upon vacant lots.

On July 1, the project will expand to Washington Street, with some continuation of Duke Street work until the end of 2017. Plans are to focus on a new street each year in the area between Carteret Street and Ribaut Road to re-energize Beaufort neighborhoods, said Deborah Johnson, who works with the Redevelopment Commission on the project.

Hands-on volunteers for the Street-by-Street Infill Initiative at Duke Street have included:

· Neighbors and residents

· Beaufort Housing Authority staff, board members and contractors

· Clemson Cooperative Extension horticultural agent Laura Lee Rose

· Lowcountry Master Gardeners, led by Sheila Drouin who designed the landscaping

· Cub Scout Pack #1

· Designer/Artist Jeremiah Smith who designed and coordinated painting of the murals

· City of Beaufort, including the Redevelopment Commission, mayor and city council, planning department, public works department, police and fire departments.

Donors of goods and services included Allison Ramsey Architects; Hargray; CenturyLink; Easy Rentals; Lowes; J.Weidner Landscaping; Padgett Tree Service; Simmons Irrigation Supply; and Scott Sonoc and Marsha Williams providing services of Buds & Blooms Landscaping.