Island Packet Article: (May 2006).

By Justin Paprocki

Byway plan detours into old town.

Bluffton – Old town could get a boost with  a proposed national scenic byway route funning through the heart of Bluffton.

As part of the effort to name SC 46 a national scenic byway, consultants hired by the town to help push for the designation have suggested the route include Boundary and Calhoun Streets.

Debby Spencer of the consulting firm, WMTH Corporation, said the inclusion of old town with its historic buildings and eclectic stores will increase the changes that the designation will be approved and bring more attention to old town.

With a designation, the route will be eligible for federal grants to promote and protect it, including money to market it as a destination.

“This is a way for people to drive to Bluffton,” Spencer said.  “It’s not a scenic drive through Bluffton to get to another community.”

Although minimally involved in the designation process so far, the Old Town Bluffton Merchants Society sees the designation as a means to draw more people to old-town businesses, said executive Sarah Bergin.  Combined with the development of a master plan for future development, the byway designation could work to promote old town as the heart of Bluffton, she said.

The proposed route would be along S.C. 46 from the Jasper County line east until it turns north at Bluffton Road.  The route then would loop down Boundary Street across Bridge Street and along Calhoun Street.

The consultant proposed including All Joy Road as part of the designation but scrapped the plan after residents said they didn’t want to bring attention to their neighborhood.

Spencer said she has faith the route will be approved.

“I don’t perceive any problem at all,” she said.  “I think it’s a wonderful drive.”

WMTH CORPORATION PO BOX 51153 BOWLING GREEN, KY 42102 PHONE (270) 781-6858 FAX 781-2949