Community & Economic Development
The Mission of the Community Development Department is to create a stronger and more resilient Abbeville community, increasing the quality of life for all residents.
The City’s Community Development Department combines the important tasks of Grant Writing with Economic Development. Specifically, the City’s Community Development Department is entrusted with obtaining funding whenever possible for certain City projects and working to promote an environment which encourages Econonomic Growth; in particular Small Business Development.
Since its inception in 2017, the Community Development Department has secured nearly $5.5 Million in Grant Funding for the City of Abbeville. (As of November 2020)
The Community Development Department also oversees the City’s Robust Event’s Lineup which has a major positive impact on local businesses.
Downtown Revitalization Plan Implementation
The Abbeville City Council adopted a Downtown Revitalization Plan in 2019 and since that time, the Ciy has been continuing to work hard on the implementation of the Downtown Revitalization Master Plan. See below for highlights of some of the progress made over the past few months:
1: Downtown Occupancy
Downtown Occupancy in the Square Proper (Cherry to Pinckney Streets) has increased to 75%; up from 67% about 18 months ago. (In the broader Downtown area the occupancy rate is at 75%; at 70% a year ago)
1A: This is the result of 21 stores opening over the past two years. At this time the City is also aware of 3 additional businesses set to open, which are in varying stages of that process.
However, at the same time, 13 businesses did leave the area or shutdown, indicating their is much work still to be done. (10 of those were in the Downtown Area)
The City also looks at other data points to measure business activity throughout the City, one of these being business licenses obtained from the City. For businesses located inside the City, the number of licenses has increased by 42% since 2010 and for all businesses operating in the City it has increased 109% since 2010.
2: Opera House Restoration
The City has secured two grants for the Opera House. One for $200,000 and the other for $25,000. Combined with the City’s own investment, this will go along way towards modernizing the Opera House as a venue and opening up its true economic potential.
3: Opera House/Festival Attendance Growth
Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Opera House attendance for the year was on pace to reach 12,000. A significant improvement over prior years and a significant step towards the 3 year goal of 15,000.
This attendance has helped result in record high accommodations tax collections, with 2018-2019 up 21% over the prior year and 2019-2020 up an additional 2%. Higher Accommodations Tax Collections means more visitors staying in Abbeville and supporting local businesses.
Additionally, the City is working to grow its two annual festivals, the Spring Festival as well as the Hogs and Hens. Prior to COVID-19 attendance at the Spring Festival was estimated to be holding steady, while Hogs and Hens was beginning to experience significant growth.
4: Business Incubation
The City’s First Business Incubator is now up and running. This incubator is located above the Chamber of Commerce and is home to Red Gate Realty. Additionally, Breezy Quarters has a Private Business Incubator called "The Nest".
5. Business Retention Program
Establishing a business retention program based around entrepreneurial resources and a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. https://
6. Smaller Projects
The City is also continuing to work on smaller initiatives such as signage, etc. . Many of these programs are being done in partnership with organizations like the Downtown Abbeville Merchants Association.