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Summerville leaders move forward with initial renovations of Hutchinson Square

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) -

On Wednesday, the Summerville Parks and Recreation committee voted to recommend phase 1 renovation plans of Hutchinson Square to town council. 

Tomany locals, the square is the core of Summerville's historic downtown area.

“This is the heart of Summerville," Myra Cruthfield, owner of ETC EveryThing Chic, said. "People come from all over to visit Summerville.  They want to stop in the square, they want to see the statues, they want to eat lunch and shop.”
 
Officials said proposed changes to Hutchinson Square, which is located across from Town Hall,  would improve safety and park comfort.

Phase 1, unveiled today by the committee, focuses on infrastructure upgrades, such as additional street lighting. 
 
“I think lighting is a problem," Crutchfield said. "I think it would encourage more people to come out at night, they would feel safer, if it was a brightly lit area.”
 
Stacy Young, of Charleston Bagel Co, is a lifelong Summerville resident. She agreed that lighting would be beneficial.

“It gets dark earlier now," Young said. "There’s a lot more traffic in the evening here and a lot more businesses staying open later and the third Thursday so it’s very important.”
 
At the Parks and Recreation committee recommendation, phase 1 plans now move to Summerville Town Council for approval. 

"Change is good," Young said. "I’m personally for it. But I’d like them to keep the small personal charm of Summerville.”
 
Future work includes improving sidewalks but later phases also incorporate adding a pavilion and grand lawn to the space. Some business owners worry needed construction could disrupt customer parking or business itself. Others just want to be sure renovations don’t change the small town character of downtown. 
 
“The square is quaint and nostalgic so I would hate to see the trees ruined and all the things that people can see here in Summerville," Crutchfield said. "We’re so blessed to have this location so I hope whatever changes they make will be swift and they’ll be cognizant that we’re here working and trying to make a living also.” 
 
Town officials estimate construction costs for phase one will be approximately $220,000, and only phase one funding is available at this time.  They said sidewalk construction would be postponed until after the Flowertown Festival in April and be coordinated with local storeowners prior to work beginning.

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