News Update from Upper Savannah Council of Governments

4 USCOG Region Counties, Municipalities Eligible for New Rural Grant Program

Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick counties and their municipalities are eligible to apply for funding in the new Growing Rural Communities Grant Program.

Recently launched by the S.C. Department of Commerce (SCDOC), the program is designed to support community growth and prosperity by providing funding for programs that enhance economic development, improve infrastructure, and promote quality of life in rural areas.

Eligible recipients are units of local government in Tier III and Tier IV counties in South Carolina. Primary focus will be on counties that were not eligible for funding through the Rural Initiative Grant program.

These counties include Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick in the Upper Savannah Region as well as Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Colleton, Darlington, Horry, Sumter and Union.

The grant funds can be used for a variety of purposes including but not limited to infrastructure improvements, workforce development initiatives, business development and retention programs, and quality of life enhancements.

Projects must lead to community development and can include industrial product development and community revitalization. Only non-business development projects are eligible.

“We have had several towns ask about sidewalks,” SCDOC Rural Development Manager Fearn Gupton said. “It (the funding) could be used to fund a study. It could be used for design work. It can also be used as a match for other funding outside of CDBG (Community Development Block Grant).”

The grant cannot be a match for CDBG, but CDBG can be a match for the grant. So if funding has already been secured from CDBG, and the applicant wants to expand on the project then the Rural Communities Grant funding could be used, according to Gupton.

A community project identification process must be completed prior to grant approval.

Grant values are determined by County designation. Abbeville, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick all are Tier III.

Tier IV – $250,000 maximum with 10 percent match required.*

Tier III – $200,000 maximum with 10 percent match required.*

Maximum grant and match requirements may be adjusted for economically significant projects.

Grants will be approved by a four-member committee within SCDOC.

For more information regarding the Growing Rural Communities Grant Program, contact Peggy McLean at or call 803-413-6774.