See Lancaster SC Seeks Cultural District Designation

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Lancaster, South Carolina, may soon have another reason to visit –  a state-recognized cultural district in the downtown area.  See Lancaster, a department of the City of Lancaster which oversees tourism development, has been working with local and state leaders to apply for cultural district designation.  The program is a new initiative approved by state lawmakers late last year, which authorized the South Carolina Arts Commission to grant official state designation to Palmetto State cultural districts.

The SC Arts commission defines a cultural district as a geographic area that has a concentration of cultural facilities, activities, and assets and is easily identifiable to visitors and residents as a center of cultural, artistic, and economic activity.  Gaining recognition for downtown Lancaster as a cultural district is expected to be another tool in See Lancaster SC’s efforts to attract visitors and businesses to its downtown area. With Lancaster’s growing diverse art and culture sector, state cultural district distinction will assist in marketing and promoting the downtown area as a “creative” destination.

Potential benefits include attracting more businesses to downtown and increasing the city’s opportunities for grant applications to support local art and cultural activities. The goal is for downtown Lancaster to be a center of economic and cultural activity. Goals of designated cultural districts include attracting artists and creative entrepreneurs, preservation and reuse of historic buildings, and provision of a focal point for celebrating and strengthening local cultural identity.

City Council passed a required resolution and appointed a steering committee to develop a map of the proposed district and an inventory of arts-related businesses and venues, public art collections, and locations which provide opportunity for arts experiences.

If approved, Lancaster’s cultural district designation will be in effect for five years, with See Lancaster tracking  investments and growth in the area. Cities with cultural districts will track the number of visitors to the area, the building occupancy rate, tourism activity, sales tax collections, employment figures, and the volume of art-based industry.

For further information, please contact Cherry Doster, Marketing & Development Manager, See Lancaster, 201 West Gay Street, Lancaster, SC 29720.  E-mail to (cdoster@lancastercitysc.com) or call 803/289-1492.

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