Growing pains for downtown Bishopville - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Growing pains for downtown Bishopville

(Bishopville) June 13, 2005 - Topiaries, a wide median, parallel parking and a different traffic pattern is a big change for a city that hasn't changed much in years. It's all part of an $800,000 streetscape that's been years in the making.

Mayor Tom Alexander says the project is now halfway finished, "This is an effort to make the town and more livable and lovable community."

The idea behind the streetscape was to slow down traffic and make the city more walkable. Many people News 10 has talked with, like Kodie Gainey, say it's created parking and traffic hassles, "I'd rate it a bad idea. It's pretty, but it's going to cause more problems than it's right."

Gainey says it's tougher to find a spot to park.

Others say the street is more congested, especially because hundreds of trucks still come through each day. Mayor Alexander, "I think it's better now than it was."

Alexander says the city is working on more parking and trying to create a new truck route around the town. The project could take many years. In the meantime, he says Bishopville is thriving, despite the many empty storefronts.

He expects growth from the expansion of Shaw Air Force Base. Hundreds of students will start at a new downtown branch of Central Carolina Technical College next year. Bishopville store owner Tommy Smith says a restaurant is in the works near the chamber of commerce, "We feel like once it is completely done, the project finished, then we'll see a good deal of additional traffic."

The second half of the project is out for a second bid. The construction is expected to start this fall.

By Heather Brown
Posted 7:22pm by BrettWitt

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