Community Master Plan Charrette Final Report & Presentation

Introduction and Background
The Main Street South Carolina (MSSC) Team conducted a planning charrette that focused specifically on downtown revitalization and implementation strategies for the City of Pickens and the Pickens Revitalization Association in July 2012. MSSC assembled a team with expertise in architecture, planning, historic preservation, economic development and community branding that ascribes to the Main Street Four-Point Approach® of Design, Promotion, Organization and Economic Restructuring.

The team for the Pickens Community Planning Charrette included:
  • Tom McGilloway, Mahan Rykiel & Associates, Baltimore, MD
  • Andy Kalback, Kalback Planning & Design, Annapolis, MD
  • Beppie LeGrand, Main Street South Carolina, Columbia, SC
  • Tripp Muldrow, Arnett Muldrow & Associates, Greenville, SC
  • Tee Coker, Arnett Muldrow & Associates, Greenville, SC
  • Chris Petit, Arnett Muldrow & Associates, Greenville, SC
  • Randy Wilson, Community Design Solutions, Columbia, SC
The community planning charrette is a service offered to local South Carolina communities participating in the South Carolina Main Street Program, and engaged in implementing the Main Street Four-Point Approach®, which is the nationally recognized, comprehensive downtown revitalization methodology developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The MSSC charrette team, comprised of the revitalization professionals noted above, evaluated the community’s current level of commercial district revitalization activities, reviewed prior planning efforts, conducted copious public input opportunities, and offered observations on the opportunities and challenges for revitalizing downtown Pickens. The results of this process were presented at a final presentation at the conclusion of the community planning charrette. Those preliminary recommendations were directed to both City Officials and the Main Street Program to provide clear action steps for strategic economic development initiatives as well as for the organizational capacity necessary to facilitate positive change in Pickens’s downtown commercial district. The Charrette Team’s observations and recommendations are presented in this report.

As noted in the opening paragraph, all Charrette Team members had expertise in at least one area of the 4 Points of Main Street. In laymen’s terms, these correspond with Design and Planning (Design), Branding and Marketing (Promotion), Market Analysis (Economic Restructuring), and Implementation Strategies (Organization). Each of these study areas were addressed to varying degrees and in different ways.

The Market Analysis utilized a zip code survey and on-site observations to interpret data that helped the team understand the economic dynamics affecting Pickens. Based on that information, strategic recommendations for marketing, advertising and economic development were made. The data, analysis and recommendations follow in the first section of this report and lay the foundation for any and all subsequent recommendations.

The Design and Planning
 work done during the charrette endeavored to build upon the best of prior planning efforts while addressing new and emerging opportunities. There are many positive planning activities in the works in Pickens ranging from the amphitheater project, to the bike trail system, to the potential reuse of the High School Football stadium and the abandoned rail line. Additionally, there are some amazing assets and opportunities in Pickens from a design and planning perspective ranging from, but in no way limited to, the courthouse green, an attractive streetscape, an amazing array of commercial district architecture, historic residential districts, and a beautiful natural environment, etc.

The Branding and Marketing and Wayfinding
 study focused on creating a comprehensive and consistent marketing effort for all the development entities in the community such as the City and the Main Street Program. A complete branding toolkit was developed that addressed graphic identities for the City as well as its Main Street program. The toolkit included brand extension systems for community festivals and events, wayfinding signage systems, flag and banner systems, merchandising collateral, social media strategies, web site home page designs, and a series of strategic advertisements aimed at marketing the essence of Pickens to both the internal and external markets.

The Implementation
 aspects of this planning exercise are two-fold: the first step was to identify key projects and recommendations during the charrette; the second is to break those recommendations down into manageable tasks. An implementation strategy board will be developed in concert with the Steering Committee to formulate the major recommendations of the charrette into time-based tasks that include responsible parties. This will be accompanied by a document that outlines potential funding sources for the implementation phase. The balance of this report explains and illustrates the key recommendations of the community planning charrette that can become an instrumental part of your arsenal as you work together to achieve this ambitious and beneficial vision for the future of Pickens.