Mayesville Downtown Revitalization
The revitalization of downtown Mayesville marked another milestone.
A ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce was held on July 9, 2021, as Mayesville’s Penny for Progress project was officially unveiled to the public.
Situated about nine miles northeast of Sumter, Mayesville is known as the birthplace of Mary McLeod Bethune, a legendary educator and advisor to five U.S. presidents. In years past, an annual celebration and parade in her honor draws a large crowd, and a new Learning Center and Art Gallery also amplifies her legacy and helps tell her story.
Mayesville was allocated $875,000 to renovate the Bland Stables. Grants from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development followed, and the former stables were transformed into a museum, café and medical clinic with affordable housing units as well.
Presiding over the ribbon cutting ceremony was Sumter County Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr., who told the crowd he wanted to quote fellow Council member Eugene Baten.
“I hear him say all the time with the Penny (projects): ‘When you invest in yourself, others will invest in you,’” McCain said. “Because of the investment that the Penny for Progress tax has taken, we’ve got progress that has come to downtown Mayesville in this beautiful, historic area next door.”
Mayesville Town Councilman Erikson Jackson led the group in prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, and Mayor Jereleen Hollimon-Miller thanked all the parties involved in making the project come to life.
District Five Sumter County Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney noted that County Administrator Gary Mixon was unable to attend but she wanted to offer remarks in his stead.
“Mayesville is near and dear to my heart so this is a great day,” she said.
She thanked Nancy Williams for ably representing Mayesville on the Penny for Progress Committee as well as Project Manager Ed Miller and his wife Mayor Miler for their hard work. Mayesville Town Council and Sumter County Council members past and present also deserve credit, she said, for working together to improve Mayesville.
McGhaney also thanked Sumter County Government’s Purchasing Director Bobby Galloway and Property Manager Chris Hilditch.
Sumter banker Bob Smith chaired the Penny for Progress Committee and told the crowd one of the great joys of 2014 was working as Chairman of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce and working with County Council to get the Penny for Progress referendum approved. He said the group started off with $200 million-plus in projects and whittled the list down to around $65 million.
“We spent many months vetting projects on what really made a different to this community,” he said, and called Mayesville “an outstanding community.”
“This is a great day for Mayesville,” he said.
Only a few years ago, the J.F. Bland Sale & Feed Stables had fallen into serious disrepair and the building was a shell.
According to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, The Mayesville Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1979.
The Mayesville Historic District was notable “for its representation of the cultural, commercial and architectural development of a small nineteenth century South Carolina community,” according to the state’s archives. “The district, which encompasses the western half of the town, contains a concentration of eighty properties that represent a broad range of late nineteenth and early twentieth century vernacular architectural design, including commercial, residential (majority), and religious examples.”
Architectural styles include Neo-Classical, Victorian, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Commercial and Bungalow.
“These stables date to about 1895 and we’re excited to see new life breathed into this historic structure,” said Mayor Miller. “Good things are happening in Mayesville.”
Sept. 22, 2019
July 22, 2020
April 9, 2021
July 9, 2021