The city of Rock Hill is taking the farsighted approach to establishing a new shopping area near the Galleria and Manchester Village.
City Council members recently approved the first step in creating a "landscape mainten-ance district" to encompass the project. The proposed boundaries for the district stretch west of Interstate 77 from John Ross Parkway to just short of Red River Road, east of the interstate.
Under the proposal, the city would spend $137,000 to landscape the area and keep it manicured for the first year. After that, businesses in the district would pay maintenance fees based on the value of their property.
This is just one piece of a $6 million makeover designed to turn the Manchester-Galleria area into what city officials call a "premier" shopping destination. The makeover includes new sidewalks, fountains, lighting and a revamped and heavily landscaped Exit 79.
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Eventually, Dave Lyle Boulevard, which connects the shopping areas, will have enclosed stormwater draining and new curbs and gutters. The city also will erect small towers to serve as "identity markers" along the road.
Much of the Galleria, inside and out, has been revamped under new ownership. And Manchester Village already is a popular local and regional destination, featuring a variety of stores, restaurants and a theater complex.
Sidewalks, curbs and gutters on Galleria Boulevard and Springdale Road already have been completed, and overall construction should be finished by next year. But planning began in 2004, making this a five-year project.
In other words, planners wanted to get it right the first time.
While this involves a public investment, the painstaking effort to install infrastructure and properly landscape the property is likely to pay off in a much larger private investment by merchants eager to locate in a thriving retail sector. Thinking ahead also helps ensure that customers have an easier time navigating the enlarged shopping area.
The city has changed considerably since the Galleria was the sole retail destination in that newly annexed part of Rock Hill. Growth has increased demand for a larger and more diverse shopping area, and the expanded Manchester-Galleria center should help meet that demand.
City planned carefully for the makeover of the Manchester-Galleria shopping area.
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