Summerville DREAM is working to improve the downtown area in three major ways; increased economic engagement, coordinated branding and marketing and improved walkability. Michael Lisle, executive director of DREAM, along with Molly Willard, director of promotions and design, have joined up with four committees to complete the work prioritized in their action plan.
Willard said the work being done by DREAM only enhances the natural charm of Summerville, in itself the area has a lot to offer locals and visitors alike. DREAM is affiliated with Main Street South Carolina, the National Main Street Center and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. These organizations share a common goal: to promote revitalization of historic downtown districts through events, beautification projects, economic growth, tourism and marketing.
DREAM’s initiative for improving downtown Summerville started in the early 1990’s when the historic downtown area had roughly 40 percent of the buildings vacant. It was a problem in most small towns throughout the country as the popularity of malls and other attractions pulled business away from downtown areas. Summerville residents Rick Sutton and Cada McCoy formed DREAM with the help of volunteers. Since then DREAM has brought events including Third Thursdays, the Sweet Tea Festival, the Summerville Christmas Parade and tree lighting, #FeedtheVille and more.
DREAM is responsible for several charming projects like creating life-size bronze sculptures of birds that perch on the rooftops of buildings downtown and installing more than 20 hanging flower baskets throughout downtown. Most recently two downtown businesses received a grant from DREAM to help pay for new storefront awnings.
It’s a history of improvements that Willard is proud to be a part of. She said if more people focus on shopping local, take action by volunteering with DREAM or joining a committee, then the downtown area will continue to thrive. Please visit summervilledream.org for more info.