Fort Mill Times

Paradise about to get a whole lot better

Freightliner employees work on recent projects in Paradise.
Freightliner employees work on recent projects in Paradise. Courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of York County

More community improvements are coming to Paradise.

Fort Mill Town Council voted July 25 to award an almost $570,000 bid to Corbett & Son Construction for work in one of Fort Mill’s most historic neighborhoods. The money comes from a state Department of Commerce community development block grant and county C-funds, which help with road projects.

“This includes a new water main running down Joe Louis Street to include fire hydrants, sidewalks on Steele Street and decorative neighborhood signage,” said Caroline Hasty, town spokesperson.

Residents will see progress soon.

“This project is expected to begin this fall,” Hasty said.

The community development grant is the latest in a long list of improvements in Paradise. Habitat for Humanity of York County continues a years-long relationship to make safety and aesthetic home improvements in the area with the help of numerous corporate partners. The latest brought 180 Daimler-Freightliner workers from across the continent.

“A total of 13 families were served and a neighborhood church was painted,” said Ben Gair, director of development for the local Habitat group.

In May, it was AmeriCorps bringing employees in through Habitat to make critical repairs on eight homes. Keller Williams had employees complete nine more projects.

Grazier Rhea, community development director with Catawba Regional Council of Governments, said grants are awarded twice a year. Some are for major infrastructure needs. Some are more aesthetic. The Paradise grant was awarded in late 2014.

“There were several parts to the project,” Rhea said.

Along with water, sidewalk and signage improvements, some dilapidated homes will be demolished. The grants come through the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, and are administered through the S.C. Department of Commerce. In York County, they are open to areas except Rock Hill —which has its own grant recipient status — and higher income areas such as Tega Cay and Lake Wylie.

Communities applying for funds must demonstrate more than half the people benefiting from improvements are in the low to moderate income category. Grants like the Paradise one, involving infrastructure upgrades, can be used for various types of improvement work.

"It depends on the project,” Rhea said. “When we do the neighborhood revitalization, we can do multiple activities."

Having worked with grants throughout most of York County, Rhea has seen improvements here similar to what is happening statewide.

"We have so many areas in South Carolina that have aging infrastructure that need these funds,” she said. "It has made a huge difference. Some of these communities have pretty much redone their water systems.”