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051718 DORA Downtown Oburg (copy)

The Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association is creating an inventory of available buildings so potential businesses know what's available in the district.

The Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association is planning to make downtown buildings more attractive, and create an inventory of what’s available, to draw more businesses to the district.

“We really want to address our vacant buildings downtown and do some treatment, some window treatments to those,” DORA Executive Director Candace Roberson said Tuesday.

Roberson appeared before the Orangeburg City Council to provide an update of the association’s plans for 2019.

In an effort to attract more businesses to the downtown area, Roberson said the vacant buildings downtown will be assessed.

“We’re also really going to crack down and do an inventory of all of our vacant buildings,” Roberson said.

The assessment of the vacant buildings will help determine if buildings are move-in ready, and what needs to be done to the buildings so they can become move-in ready, according to Roberson.

Roberson said the association is also pushing for the development of a shopping and dining guide for the downtown area.

The guide will say “here’s the shopping and dining and the activities that you can do in the downtown district. You’ll see that coming out soon. We’ll have it electronically and a paper version,” Roberson stated.

The association is making an effort to engage with the merchants located in the downtown district, Roberson stated, noting that they have begun highlighting a different merchant each month.

She also said that the association will be working with the city to make sure businesses know the downtown district is part of an opportunity zone.

“We will be working with the city and city administration on opportunity zones, and highlighting the downtown district that is an opportunity zone,” Roberson said. “DORA will be piggybacking on that and helping to promote that.”

Opportunity zones are a federal tax program offering incentives to private entities that invest in low-income areas. A portion of the city was designated an opportunity zone, and the downtown district lies within the designated area.

Roberson also provided a list of the upcoming events that will take place downtown, including the street dance, which will take place on May 3; the car show, which will take place on May 4 at the Square; the Farm to Table event, which will take place June 6 in the 1300 block of Russell Street, near Palmetto Office Supply, and the Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival, which is scheduled to take place on Sept. 21.

Council approved a motion to allow for the sale of alcohol at the street dance, Farm to Table and Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival events.

Also during Orangeburg City Council’s meeting:

• Council passed a resolution granting a fire sprinkler tax credit to Longwood Plantation-FHE, LLC. The city will conduct an inspection of the installation of the fire sprinkler system. The credit will be given in one year and will be a property tax credit of approximately $7,600 that the city will give in the next budget, according to City Administrator John Yow.

• Council approved a motion declaring “determination” the character trait for April 2019.

• Council denied a request from residents of 752 Banning St. for a waiver of covenant requirement for Department of Public Utilities water services. Councilman Richard Stroman abstained, stating he was in favor of the request.

• Council approved a motion recognizing April as Fair Housing Month. “It’s something we do for procedural purposes for grants that we receive, but more importantly we recently finished the comprehensive plan and part of that discussion really focused on safe and clean housing for citizens, and the importance of it. Fair housing is a part of that,” Deputy City Administrator John Singh said.

• Council was presented with the 2019-2020 budget calendar. Council will hold a planning session on June 25.

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Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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