Summerville businesses react to possibly shutting down Little Main Street

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Some businesses on Little Main Street in Summerville are upset that town representatives plan to shut down the street entirely during part of its peak tourism season.

Hutchinson Park is lined with beautiful oak trees and landscaping but, as Summerville Mayor Wiley Johnson explained, the town has been talking about sprucing things up at the park for more than four years.

During these renovations, the town plans to shut down Little Main Street from July 16 through Oct. 1 in the latest draft of the plans.

"The timeline just doesn't work for businesses," Barbara Dunning said. Dunning owns Guerlin's, the oldest pharmacy in South Carolina, on Little Main Street.
"We're going to rip up the pavement, regrade that road. If you see the road behind me, there's a pretty good slope," Johnson said. "We do not want businesses to be hurt so whatever we can do to make the impact as minimal as possible we'll do."
Dunning said she understands the need for improvements to the area.
"We need lights, park benches, trash cans," Dunning said.

Dunning also said certain aspects need to be organized before the construction starts.

"We're going to have to designate parking spaces during this construction," Dunning said.

Summerville is finishing phases two, three, and four simultaneously for renovations at Hutchinson Park.

These phases will add lighting, a fountain, park benches, and a repaved Little Main Street, among other improvements.

Locals, like Janet McCarthy, think shutting down Little Main Street during this time will damage businesses.

"These are commercial residents that rely on tourism trade. It’s one thing to be supported by Summerville citizens, but tourism brings the money and I’m sure the citizens count on that," McCarthy said. "The trees and plants are beautiful. It's a shame to disrupt this entire area."
Mayor Johnson says these plans are only in the preliminary stages and nothing is absolute. He said he is confident the end product will enhance Hutchinson Square.
"This is sort of the heart and soul of Summerville," Johnson explained. "That's why we pay so much attention to it."
Johnson said the town of Summerville had to delay starting the renovations to Hutchinson Square because of the annual Flowertown Festival, which brings 200,000 to 300,000 people to Summerville.
Town council anticipate all renovations in the area will be completed by Halloween of this year.

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