MARION, S.C. – Rep. Lucas Atkinson and Sen. Kent Williams presented a $75,000 check to the Historic Marion Revitalization Association Wednesday. Atkinson said he met with HMRA executive director Stephanie Indergaard on a vision to provide the resource for improvement projects.

“We put in a proposal and Mayor Ashley Brady was very active with helping to write-up a proposal and we got this check here for $75,000 we want to present Stephanie to spend it wisely,” Atkinson said.

Indergaard said the funding from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History will go towards plans to improve facilities, increase signage, painting and beautification projects.

HMRA’s mission is to preserve, promote, and stimulate the historic appearance and economic vitality of historic downtown Marion, she said. The association organizes several events including the 11th Annual Swamp Fox Chili Cook Off set for Feb. 29. The event offers $1,750 in prize money.

“I’m so excited to be partnering to bring more revitalization efforts to downtown and be able to expand the scope of what we are doing,” Indergaard said. “In March we will start our farmer’s market and in April will start our summer concert series. Revitalization efforts for our building’s downtown are ongoing and businesses are applying while we are reviewing those applications.”

Atkinson said the organization is designed to create opportunities to build new alliances, partnerships, to promote, and preserve the historic appearance of downtown Marion while stimulating economic development.

“It’s great for tourism in this area and it benefits all of Marion County,” Atkinson said. “I’d also like to thank my Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Murrell Smith, Jr. of Sumter. He looks at rural South Carolina and really wants to help and that is why he supports these types of projects.”

Sen. Kent Williams said Rep. Atkinson has only been in the house three years but has been helpful to the area.

“It’s very difficult house members that are fairly new like Rep. Atkinson to get funding in the budget and for him to be able to get this money on the house-side speaks volumes of him and how he has connected with the leadership,” Williams said. “It’s about revitalizing downtown Marion. We just appreciate the partnership and working together.”

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Born in Atlantic City; raised in Mullins. Graduated from SC State University, home of the mighty Bulldogs. Editor of the Marion Star & Mullins Enterprise. Loves spending free time with his daughter. Huge sports fan.

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