Grants to benefit Edgefield, Johnston, Williston 1

Edgefield, show here in 2017 prior to the total eclipse of the sun, is among the communities that have received Community Development Block Grant funding. 

Edgefield, Johnston and Williston are among the 21 communities that were awarded more than $7 million in Community Development Block Grant funds by the S.C. Department of Commerce for public improvement efforts.

Edgefield received $150,000 for park upgrades. Johnston received $454,545 for a fire truck. And Williston received $198,000 for the Elko Street neighborhood demolition initiative.

“The CDBG program continues to be an invaluable asset to economic development efforts in communities across South Carolina,” said S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt in a news release issued by the Department of Commerce on Wednesday. “With this resource, and the public projects it affords, our state’s residents enjoy an improved quality of life, which is the hallmark of South Carolina as an ideal destination for business.”

The Department of Commerce awards CDBG funds in the fall and the spring of each year.

Chosen through a statewide competitive process, local governments that receive the money are required to provide at least a 10% match in funding to complete the projects.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocates the grant money on an annual basis to South Carolina, and the S.C. Department of Commerce administers the CDBG program on the state’s behalf.

CDBG funding helps communities provide housing, a suitable living environment and expanded economic opportunities for their residents.

For community projects to qualify for grants, they must do at least one of the following:

• Benefit people with low to moderate incomes.

• Aid in the prevention or elimination of slums and blighting conditions.

• Meet other urgent community needs where existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to public health and welfare and where other financial resources are not readily available to meet such needs.

​Dede Biles is the Aiken County government, business and horse industry reporter for the Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @DBethBiles.