The City of Conway received a Municipal Achievement Award
for Rebuild Conway. Officials accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's 74th Annual Meeting
on July 12. The city won in the 10,001 - 20,000 population category. Twenty-six cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
In 2007, Conway officials made a long-term commitment to bring about positive change in the community by creating the Rebuild Conway Program. The mission of the program is to identify neighborhoods in need of revitalization then infuse them with the necessary support and infrastructure to reverse their decline. The targeted areas were full of overgrown lots, abandoned buildings and inadequate infrastructure. Dialogue between residents and police was nonexistent, and crime in these neighborhoods was at an all-time high.
Representatives from city council and city departments serve on the Rebuild Conway Committee to spearhead the program. The committee evaluates potential projects, develops an action plan, and makes recommendations to city council about the best way forward taking into account the city's budget.
City staff organizes clean-up days, beautification events and neighborhood crime watches to which concerned residents and volunteers have an active role. These efforts have been paid for through the city's general fund, as well as federal and state grants. In its six years, Rebuild Conway has put more than $700,000 into the city's neediest neighborhoods.
The city has cleared 235 overgrown lots, demolished or rehabilitated 79 structures, and spent more than $500,000 on infrastructure needs such as sidewalks, landscaping and drainage. Conway officials are encouraged by a 23 percent decrease in crimes such as arson, homicides, breaking/entering, assaults and stolen autos.
"Utilizing a variety of resources and inviting community stakeholders to take part, officials in Conway are rebuilding the city, one neighborhood at a time," said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. More information and a video about the project are available on the Association's website