News Update from Upper Savannah Council of Governments

Funding to Become Available for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Communities

The Biden-Harris Administration has opened applications for a new multi-billion-dollar program to fund electric vehicle (EV) charging and alternative-fueling infrastructure in communities across the country and along designated highways, interstates, and major roadways.

This is a key step towards the President’s goals of building a national network of 500,000 public EV charging stations and reducing national greenhouse gas emissions by 50–52 percent by 2030.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will provide $2.5 billion over five years to a wide range of applicants, including cities, counties, and local governments.

This round of funding makes up to $700 million from fiscal years 2022 and 2023 funding available to strategically deploy EV charging and other alternative vehicle-fueling infrastructure projects in publicly accessible locations in urban and rural communities, as well as along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors (AFCs).

“Extending EV charging infrastructure into traditionally underserved areas will ensure that equitable and widespread EV adoption takes hold,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Ensuring that charging stations are more visible and accessible in our communities addresses the concerns many American drivers have when considering making the switch to electric.”

A priority of the CFI Program is bringing EV charging into urban and rural communities, downtown areas and local neighborhoods, particularly in underserved and disadvantaged communities, as well as to designated alternative fuel corridors.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law divides the CFI Program into two distinct grant funding categories, and requires that 50 percent of the funding over five years is made available for each:

The Community Program will provide $1.25 billion to strategically deploy publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure, and hydrogen, propane, or natural gas fueling infrastructure in communities. Infrastructure may be located on any public road or in other publicly accessible locations such as parking facilities at public buildings, public schools, and public parks, or in publicly accessible parking facilities owned or managed by a private entity.

The Corridor Program will provide $1.25 billion to strategically deploy publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure and hydrogen, propane, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors (AFCs).

Eligible applicants and projects for both categories are outlined in a Notice of Funding Opportunity. Applications are due by May 30, 2023.

FHWA and the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation plan to conduct outreach to potential grant applicants regarding the CFI Program via webinars throughout March and April and will provide direct technical assistance. Information on upcoming webinars can be viewed here. Visit to access technical assistance from the Joint Office.

USCOG Encouraging Citizens of the Region to Complete Internet Access Surveys

The Upper Savannah Council of Governments is encouraging participation in the GetConnectedSC campaign to deliver reliable, high-speed internet access across the State.

Part of the campaign’s efforts are to get citizens from the Upper Savannah region and across the state to complete a survey about their internet access capabilities at

The purpose of the survey is to identify who has fast internet, slow internet or no internet access. The survey results can help determine which areas of the region are underserved with reliable high-speed internet access.

“Elected officials, administrators and other community leaders who are aware of citizens in their jurisdictions who do not have internet access can get them to call me to help them fill out the surveys over the phone,” USCOG Government Services Director Rick Green said. “We need to hear from citizens who lack adequate internet.”

Green can be reached at (864) 941-8072 or

The GetConnectedSC campaign is designed to identify the areas of greatest need in our state, invest in broadband infrastructure to those areas and provide support services to make that transformation possible for every home, business and community organization in South Carolina.

The initiative is part of a nationwide effort to improve broadband access. In 2021, Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which included $65 billion for the deployment of broadband infrastructure development and digital inclusion efforts across the country.

As a required first step in the deployment of these funds, South Carolina was granted planning funds for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) and Digital Equity (DE) programs which ultimately lead to additional grants.

The BEAD and DE planning processes which include collecting internet access surveys extend through the summer of 2023 and culminate with the submission of the SC Five-Year Broadband and Digital Equity Plans to the federal government in August.

Once the South Carolina Five-Year plans have been approved, a minimum of $100 million additional federal funds for the BEAD program and tens of millions for the DE program will be made available to South Carolina to continue investment in broadband infrastructure and adoption statewide.

Upper Savannah COG Board of Directors Honors Three Outgoing Long-Serving Members

The Upper Savannah Council of Governments Board of Directors honored three outgoing long-serving members at the most recent meeting Feb. 27.

“It’s always very hard to say goodbye to Board members because you all contribute so much to this organization,” USCOG Executive Director Patricia C. Hartung told the Board. “Your service to this Board is very greatly appreciated.”

Shirley Jenkins, Rep. Anne Parks, Edith Childs, Buddy Agan, Amelia Herlong and Melissa Spencer have left the Board.

Hartung and Board Chairman Albert Talbert handed plaques of “grateful recognition for dedicated service and personal contributions” to Jenkins, Childs and Parks.

Jenkins recently retired from Clinton City Council and had served on the USCOG Board since 2003.
“I am going to miss this Board and I’m going to miss the City of Clinton Council,” Jenkins said. “I made a lot of friends on this Board over the years. I wish you all well. I know that God is with us and will continue to be with us.”

Childs recently retired from Greenwood County Council and had served on the Board since 2009.
“Thank you so much for all that you do for the counties,” Childs told members of the Board. “Thank you for letting me serve on the Board.”

Parks had served on the Board since 2005.

“I want to thank you for allowing me to serve with Upper Savannah all these years,” Parks said. “You all do a wonderful job.”

Agan, Herlong and Spencer were not present at the Feb. 27 meeting. Herlong and Spencer had served since 2019. Agan had been with the Board since 2018.

From left to right, Shirley Jenkins (right) with Board Chairman Albert Talbert and USCOG Executive Director Patricia Hartung; middle photo, Edith Childs with Albert Talbert; right photo, Rep. Anne Parks with Albert Talbert.

News Update from Upper Savannah Council of Governments

Funding Available for Environmental Assessments of Brownfields Sites for Possible Redevelopment

Money is available to fund environmental assessments of brownfields sites across South Carolina, enabling for the possible redevelopment of properties that might have contaminants such as asbestos, lead-based paint, oil or other chemicals.

The Catawba Regional Council of Governments (CRCOG) has received a $1 million sub grant from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control for the implementation of the S.C. Brownfields Environmental Site Testing (BEST) Program.

CRCOG has allocated funding to the 10 Councils of Government regions in the state, with the Upper Savannah Region of Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick and Saluda counties receiving a total of $73,446 to use for projects over a two-year period ending September 2024.

A brownfields site is a former industrial or commercial site where future use is affected by real or perceived environmental contamination.

“The goal of the grant program is we are going to do assessment work on these brownfields properties that are hindered by asbestos, lead-based paint or anything that has some kind of contaminating presence that is hindering the redevelopment and reuse of those properties,” Tyler Lewis of Catawba COG told a group of administrators who attended a lunch meeting at Upper Savannah COG on Feb. 23.

The site of environmental testing must be owned by a city, town or county, or be supported by a municipality for possible redevelopment. A private entity may apply for funding if supported by their municipality or county.

“We will require a letter of support from the administrator or council chair to say, ‘we are on board with this project. We believe it will better our community.’ We don’t want to fund anything that you guys (administrators) may not want to happen,” Lewis said.

Examples of sites that might be redeveloped after environmental testing for contaminants include old gas stations, automobile repair shops, car dealerships, textile mills, etc.

The BEST Program includes Phase I environmental site assessment (average $3,000 – $3,600), phase II environmental site assessment (average $18,000 – $36,000) and analysis of brownfields cleanup alternatives (average $5,500 – $7,500).

Each COG shall determine which projects receive funding in their respective regions based on the following criteria; 1, potential economic redevelopment opportunities (tax revenues/job creation/capital investment potential after cleanup); 2, potential to identify and eliminate environmental hazards (reduction of potential imminent public health risk); 3, potential to redevelop a property for public benefit/use (i.e. park/recreation space); 4, potential to eliminate slum and blight in a community; and 5, potential benefit to low-moderate income and/or rural communities.

Site assessments are capped at $50,000 and a locality cannot have more than five assessments funded by the BEST program. Also, a single locality cannot utilize more than 50 percent of the region’s allocation.

For more information about the program, contact USCOG Government Services Director Rick Green at (864) 941-8072 or at

News Update from Upper Savannah Council of Governments

USCOG January 2023 County-Specific Activities Report

The USCOG provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. We have developed this new activities report as a way to highlight this information and to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the January 2023 report here.

SCCOGS 2022 Impact Report

Upper Savannah Council of Governments is proud to be a part of the SC Council of Governments (SCCOGS). Our network of 10 Councils of Governments is pleased to provide the collective impact of our work in the 2022 impact report.

We are working to positively influence quality of life and economic development in South Carolina.

Download: SCCOGS Impact Report 2022


News Update from Upper Savannah Council of Governments

USCOG December 2022 County-Specific Activities Report

The USCOG provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. We have developed this new activities report as a way to highlight this information and to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the December 2022 report here.


McCormick Celebrates Groundbreaking for Veteran’s Memorial Park Near Town Hall

The Town of McCormick broke ground on the McCormick Veterans Memorial Park last week, celebrating the focal point of its latest community development project.

McCormick town and county officials were joined at the ceremony by state legislators, local veterans and veteran supporters at the stage behind the McCormick Arts Council at the Keturah (MACK).

“This day has been a long time coming,” McCormick Mayor Roy Smith said. “There have been a lot of people who have worked tirelessly to make this day possible.”

The $900,500 project to build the plaza, streetscape and expand parking behind Town Hall will be funded through a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant and a local match provided by the Town of McCormick.

The Town of McCormick Streetscape Phase II project is scheduled to begin construction Jan. 16, 2023. Upper Savannah’s community development staff prepared and submitted the grant application and attended the ceremony.

The Town is funding the military seals, flag poles and other specific veterans related items. CDBG funding is essentially paying for a retaining wall, drainage, and concrete streetscape type work within the veteran’s memorial area.

CDBG funding also includes work on Augusta Street in front of Town Hall to include a speed table (large speed bump) as well as a parking area behind Town Hall that will run along the side of the fire department.

Sidewalks will be redone in the project area. Some spaces will be redone directly on Augusta Street, but the majority will be removed for pedestrian safety. The project will incorporate ADA accessibility and parking.

The Town of McCormick Streetscape CDBG project Phase I was completed in 2020, including upgrading curb and guttering, sidewalks and crosswalks to meet ADA requirements, and landscaping.

“When we started this (Phase II) project, we knew it was going to need community support to get it done,” Smith said. “The McCormick veteran’s park will be a tribute to all veterans — past, present, future — who serve or will serve in the U.S. armed forces, and their families.”

“I really believe every community ought to have a veteran’s park,” Senator Shane Massey said. “It’s a place that a community can have pride in.”

“We all cherish and love this nation. We are standing on hallowed ground,” Senator Billy Garrett said.

“Men and women have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy,” McCormick County Council Chairman Charles Jennings said. “On this day, we want to recognize their dedication and show our appreciation by honoring them with this veteran’s park.”

Rett Harbison, landscape architect with Johnson, Laschober & Associates, pointed out a creative feature that will be included in the park. “Different military branches will be listed in morse code in brick pavers (with pamphlets at town hall to help teach the code system). It’s always a great honor to recognize our veterans.”

David McGhee of SITEC Construction Company and a Navy veteran, said, “please be patient with us. We are going to make it ugly. Just like baking a cake in the kitchen, it gets ugly before it gets pretty. My job is to make it ugly, make it pretty, and then put the icing on the cake. We are excited to be a part of the project.”

McCormick Town Councilman Arthur Banks, who was part of the veteran’s memorial park committee, added, “I was so happy when Mayor Smith called me and asked me to be a part of this committee for I have longed for something to honor our veterans here in McCormick.”

From left, McCormick Mayor Roy Smith chats with USCOG Community Development Director Keith Smith and
Community Development Project Manager Brittany Hallman.
Bottom photo, from left, landscape architects Alexandra Reynolds and Rett Harbeson, SITEC Owner David McGhee, Mayor Smith, Keith Smith,
Brittany Hallman, and USCOG Administrative and Project Specialist Shannon Hill.
News Update from Upper Savannah Council of Governments

City of Abbeville Receives CDBG Funding for Chestnut Street Park Improvements

The City of Abbeville has received $250,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to make improvements to the Chestnut Street Park.

The S.C. Department of Commerce announced the grant award in mid-December. USCOG Community Development staff prepared and submitted the grant application on behalf of the City of Abbeville in the September 2022 CDBG fall infrastructure round.

The park is located at 400 Chestnut Street and is owned by the City. It’s the location of the former Abbeville High School which was demolished a few years ago.

The proposed park improvements involve purchasing fixed playground equipment, picnic tables, mulch and an open-air pavilion. Additional work will include site preparation, designated Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) parking, and concrete work.

The project is estimated to cost $275,000, including a $25,000 match from the City.

News Update from Upper Savannah Council of Governments

USCOG November 2022 County-Specific Activities Report

The USCOG provides a wide scope of services and performs many functions. We have developed this new activities report as a way to highlight this information and to regularly communicate our general activities in your county with you. Download the November 2022 report here.