An effort to revitalize a few downtown city blocks into an urban park, shops, offices and residences is underway, with demolition starting soon, project officials say.
The city of Rock Hill is working with Comporium Communications to create a new development called Downtown East in the area of East Main and Saluda streets and Elizabeth Lane.
The first step is to demolish the former King Funeral Home and the Hiers-Clarkson office building before Rock Hill's annual Come-See-Me festival April 7 through April 16, said Glenn McFadden, Comporium chief operating officer and executive vice president.
If all goes well with completing paperwork and permitting, a Rock Hill demolition crew will begin work this week.
The demolition is expected to take a couple of weeks, McFadden said.
The city and Comporium already are looking for a developer to build a mixed-use condominium building with shops along the street, he said.
After that project is under way, the focus will shift to creating a 1.6-acre urban park with trails, gardens and a gazebo.
Plans for the park include a tiered fountain with jets of water spraying from the edges.
Project designers have said the fountain bowl will span up to 100 feet in width. It will have a 30-foot structure in the middle, and will likely be one of the largest of its kind.
Longer-term plans call for a 100-room hotel and performing arts center.
The project - which will bring more than $20 million in public and private investment into Rock Hill's historic district - is just one of Rock Hill's efforts to draw business and traffic into downtown.
Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols has called the Downtown East project a book-end to the renovated Cotton Factory and future plans in the Textile Corridor on the west end of downtown.